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When a person has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, it is important to establish the actual source of the infection as well as who is liable. Otherwise, the infected person cannot make a claim.

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria which can be found in different water sources, both natural and artificial. A relatively small amount of the bacteria poses little harm to the health of the public. However, when the bacteria’s population grows exponentially, coupled with the vulnerability of the people living in the community, then you get the recipe for an outbreak.

Before a claim may be made by a person infected with Legionnaires’ disease, it is essential to determine the source of the exposure. This can prove to be difficult as people come into contact or are exposed to different water sources beyond their homes. These may include public pools and hot tubs, drinking fountains in health clubs, decorative fountains, and more. With many possible sources of exposure, pinning down the actual source of the infection is a difficult undertaking.

Ideally, if an individual or whole family contracts Legionnaires’ disease, the date when the symptoms first came up should be determined. It may not be necessary to start with the date of the diagnosis.

Second, the infected person needs to track back to his or her activities in the last two weeks which may have possibly exposed him or her to an infected water source.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that your local government will conduct tests of the water sources. The unfortunate reality in most places is that local authorities conduct tests only when there is already a major outbreak, similar to what has happened in Flint, Michigan. You should reach out and seek the help of proper authorities. However, you should not rely on them completely, especially if you are trying to protect your family and community.

Once you have made a list of potential sources of exposure, you can now shorten that list through elimination. For example, if you think that your infection was caused by exposure at the office, you can request for the use of a Legionnaires’ test kit.

If the owner or manager of the place you suspect is the cause of your exposure to Legionella, you might want to request that you conduct your own test.

Again, determining the place where you have contracted Legionnaires’ disease is crucial. For one, you cannot make a claim. Second, and more importantly, the threat of an outbreak will continue to loom.