Legionnaires’ Disease Scare at Grantville Hotel Prompts Investigation

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease after one person was reported sick from the disease. Personnel at the Anapol Schwartz law firm are monitoring the situation closely.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed that one person acquired Legionnaires’ disease at a Comfort Suites hotel in Grantville, PA in August. The disease also known as Legionellosis is an environmental disease that does not pass from person to person, but through large scale water systems.

A source at the Department of Health is confident that guests who may have been exposed to Legionella bacteria have been contacted and that “… there is no reason to believe there is a general risk to the community.” Under Pennsylvania law, new Legionnaires’ disease cases must be reported to the Department of Health within 24 hours.*** State officials then begin an investigation to isolate the source of the contamination.

The Anapol Schwartz law firm is monitoring the situation and encourages people who may have been infected to seek medical treatment.

“The part that makes this incident so troubling is that it’s completely avoidable,” said Jim Ronca, equity partner of Anapol Schwartz. “It has been 30 years since we discovered how to defeat Legionnaires’ disease and millions of businesses take precautions every day. Why didn’t this hotel do so?”

Legionnaires’ disease symptoms may include headache, fever and a cough, though more severe problems such as vomiting, respiratory difficulties and loss of coordination have also been reported.** Signs of the disease can appear from two to 14 days after exposure. Fatality rates from past outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have reached 30 percent but can go as high as 50 percent without adequate medical intervention*.

People are exposed to Legionella bacteria during use of contaminated water sources such as showers, faucets and hot tubs. These sources are often components of large scale water systems that have not been adequately cleaned and maintained.* Most of the outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease involved medical facilities and hospitality businesses meant to care for their guests and patients. While many buildings have implemented water testing and maintenance requirements, a staggering number of establishments fail to do so.

Legionnaires’ disease acquired its name in 1976 when American Legion convention guests at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia were suffering pneumonia-like symptoms. The previously unknown bacteria were identified as the cause and named Legionella.*

“Hotel guests shouldn’t have to be concerned about environmental diseases,” Marzzacco said. “The fact is that standard quality procedures weren’t followed and dozens, maybe hundreds, of people are at risk for illness and possibly death. There’s nothing right about that.”

Ronca and Chris Marzzacco are both personal injury attorneys for the Anapol Schwartz law firm with many years of experience in representing victims of unnecessary injuries caused by others.
Recent guests of the Grantville Comfort Suites hotel may be at risk of Legionnaires’ disease. The attorneys at Anapol Schwartz urge those who have experienced symptoms to seek medical care and to then find out about their legal rights.


About Anapol Schwartz – Anapol Schwartz was founded in 1977. The civil justice law firm has more than 25 attorneys in offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arizona and West Virginia. The firm represents victims in a wide range of cases including dangerous prescription drugs and medical devices, medical negligence and various personal injury matters.

  • cdc.gov/legionella/patient_facts.htm

** cdc.gov/legionella/top10.htm
*** health.state.pa.us/pdf/providerinfo/rdc5x8.pdf

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Brian J. O'Malley
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