Texas - Legionella Prevention and Costs of Legionnaires Outbreaks
Historical Headlines Related to Legionella
The Brazos County Commission unanimously voted to extend its Declaration of Local Disaster for Legionella bacteria found in the Brazos County Detention Center. After the bacteria was found in the center's HVAC system, about 100 female inmates had to be relocated. The bacteria was discovered after an employee tested positive for Legionnaires' disease. The extension allows commissioners to spend money to remediate the issue. The commission wasn't allowed to spend money before the extension, but now estimate spending at least $70,000 to resolve it. (Source)
The children of a Houston-area woman who died are suing the owners, operators and developers of a 55-and-older community. They are claiming their mother died from Legionnaires' disease after contracting it at a neighborhood clubhouse where the water systems were not properly treated. The woman’s children are seeking "well in excess" of $1 million in damages, according to the attorney representing the family. (Source)
The source of Legionnaire’s Disease was discovered in one of the housing units at the Brazos County jail. This led county judge Duane Peters to declare a seven-day public health emergency. The Brazos County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) issued a news release stating the discovery was made after an employee was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease. A BCSO spokesman told WTAW News that the employee recovered and at that time there were no other known cases of employees or inmates with Legionnaire’s Disease. The news release stated after the employee was diagnosed, testing revealed Legionella bacteria was found in the heating/air conditioning system in one of the jail’s five housing units. (Source)
A medical barracks at Joint Base San Antonio is still shuttered to residents and employees eight months after Legionella was detected. The barracks detected the bacteria in its water in September 2022, forcing 100 residents and 50 employees in the building to relocate across the installation as officials examined the situation. A senior policy analyst at the nonprofit Rand Corp. who specializes in infectious disease control and mitigation as well as public health systems, said it's a common problem and in some cases can even be remedied without having to close an entire building. (Source)
April 26, 2023
After contracting a rare respiratory disease from a concert's mist machine, an aspiring model had all four limbs amputated. Just three days after going to a gig she began feeling extremely tired and unwell. Due to the timing, Evelyn's doctors believe she likely contracted Legionnaires' disease from the mist machine at the music concert she attended. She went into full organ failure while unconscious and was given medication to stabilise her blood pressure, resulting in the need for amputation of all four limbs. (Source)
February 23, 2023
A medical barracks is still closed at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, forcing 150 patients and staff to be relocated across the installation. A bacteria that can cause pneumonia was detected in the plumbing nearly five months ago. In total, 100 residents and 50 employees at Liberty Barracks, where military patients at the nearby medical center live, have not been allowed back in the building since the discovery of the Legionella bacteria was publicly announced on Sept. 30. (Source)
November 30, 2022
Despite weeks of efforts of sanitization, a bacteria that can cause pneumonia was still being detected in the medical barracks at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. In late September, base officials said that 150 residents and staff at Liberty Barracks were being moved to other parts of the installation after Legionella bacteria was discovered during routine water testing. The building has since been treated with a "super-chlorination process" but subsequent testing after the procedure showed the bacteria may still be present. (Source)
November 9, 2022
Medical barracks at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, are still being treated for a bacteria that can cause pneumonia after it was detected in pipes. The testing forced 150 patients and staff to be relocated across the base. Since Legionella was detected last month, the building has been treated with a "super-chlorination process," but subsequent testing for the bacteria showed it may still be present. (Source)
October 7, 2022
Legionella bacteria was found at a barrack at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, causing the relocation of approximately 100 residents and 50 staff. The Legionella bacteria was discovered in the plumbing system of the Liberty Barracks during routine water testing. Nearly a year ago, residents and staff had to be relocated due to the same Legionella issue. Treating included the plumbing system being cleaned in a super-chlorination process and regularly tested. (Source)
In September of 2019, 8 cases of Legionnaires’ disease was linked to the East Texas State Fair hot tub display. One person died in the outbreak.
A citywide ordinance mandating Legionella testing of multifamily housing cooling towers in Garland, Texas is a first of its kind in the United States.
In 2014, a fatal infection with Legionella occurred in a neonate after a water birth. The death highlighted the need for infection control education, client awareness, and standardization of cleaning procedures in Texas midwife facilities.
A Legionnaires’ outbreak, in the summer of 2017, at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Round Rock, Texas has sickened at least five people (including both guests and employees of the hotel).
Reported Settlements and Jury Awards
Reported settlements and jury awards have ranged from $225,000 to $5 million
State Cap on Jury Awards
There is a $250,000 per claimant cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases.
The average dollar amounts paid to victims declined to $199,000 per claim. Statistics compiled from data in the National Practitioner Data Bank indicate that Texas is at or near the bottom in medical malpractice cases brought and in the size of claims.
According to Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 41.008, the trier of fact shall determine the amount of economic damages separately from the amount of other compensatory damages. Exemplary damages awarded against a defendant may not exceed an amount equal to the greater of two times the amount of economic damages; plus an amount equal to any noneconomic damages found by the jury, not to exceed $750,000.
Groundwater Temperature Risk Level – Medium
Northern Texas 57-62F
Southern Texas 67-77F
Overall Liabliity and Risk for Texas – Medium
Yes, ASHRAE 188 is part of the state code
Legionella and Water Management Plan Assistance
Need help? For Legionella consulting and services, Water Management Plans, Legionella Control Systems, and Legionella testing please contact us at Legionella Control Systems at 888-416-8626 or email@example.com