Importance of Identifying the Source of Legionnaires’ Exposure
One of the biggest frustrations that I encounter when talking with victims and families is to properly identifying the source of the victim’s Legionnaires’. While cases involving multiple exposure outbreaks can usually be identified because of coordinating the victims to the location, when there are one or two exposures it becomes more complicated.
When Did Symptoms Begin
First, the important date to identify and focus on is the date when the victim first began with symptoms. That date is the starting point in retracing the movements at potential exposure locations. While studies vary on the latency period of legionella from about 2 to 10 days in general, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and most Departments of Health work back about 14 days from the first date the symptoms arise.
Contact Local Health Department and the CDC
Second, while most families are in the grips of the shocking impact of this terrible disease, someone should take the lead on the investigatory segment of the aftermath. Contacting the local health department, and/or the CDC (you can contact the CDC here) is very important if they have not already contacted you. Additionally, if you have just returned from a vacation or holiday from another state, then the Department of Health from that State should also be put on notice by email, fax, or at least a documented phone call.
Record Recent Locations of the Victim to Identify Possible Sources
Finally, in an effort to record the locations and movements of the victim, I have attached a diary checklist to write down each and every day’s activity and movement prior to the onset of the symptoms (PDF). Once the data can be recorded it can then be shared with the treating physician, expert or claims adjuster to insure that not only the source is identified, but that other potential sources are eliminated.
If you or a family member has been struck by Legionnaires’ disease, please fill in the attached form, and call me for a free consultation to learn how to connect the disease to the source.
Legionnaires’ Exposure Case Report (PDF)
Download the Legionnaires’ Exposure Case Report to track where you have been in the last two weeks, to help identify possible source locations.