Online Originals: State Fair Legionnaires outbreak cause for legal action

Online Originals

Last month tragedy struck the Mountain State Fair in North Carolina when multiple fair goers contracted cases of Legionnaires disease.

Now, with one reported fatality and over 100 people in critical condition, many affected are looking to take legal action.

Legionnaires disease occurs when Legionella bacteria enter the body through contaminated water sources.

Most healthy people who come in contact with the bacteria aren’t affected, however, if people’s immune systems are compromised and it reaches the lungs, it can become dangerous.

A photo from North Carolina’s Mountain State Fair in early September.

As of October 3rd, a media advisory held by state officials shed light on the investigation, stating that multiple people affected appeared to have been in the same areas.

Dr. Zack Moore, North Carolina’s State Epidemiologist explained it appears many who contracted the disease were at the Davis building inside the Agricultural Center, where many of the fair’s vendors were.

Many of the people who became ill and were in the Davis Building recalled walking past the hot tub vendors. Also, most had visited the fair during the ladder part of its dates.

Moore explained that many samples from the fair grounds are still being tested, and that only one has come back positive for Legionella bacteria.

The women’s bathroom in the Davis building had traces of the bacteria inside a sink. However, Moore stressed the amount wasn’t enough to cause the outbreaks that we’re currently seeing.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, many want justice for their suffering.

So far, investigators believe the bacteria either came from a fair vendor or the Agriculture Center’s infrastructure.

Many vendors at the fair involved water, like hot tub companies or gutter guard demonstrations. These displays could’ve housed Legionella bacteria if not properly handled by those working at said vendor.

An article from the Citizen-Times suggested that if a single source can be found as the culprit, then there is a reason to pursue a lawsuit. The next question is if the source is found, what measures should be taken to compensate those affected?

How much should the responsible party pay, and what can be done to prevent contamination from spreading in the future?

A microscopic look at the Legionella Bacteria.

If the issue stems from the fair’s Agriculture Center, then this case would be dealt with by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Their job is to investigate potential negligence by a state agency, which in this case is the Agriculture Center.

Hypothetically if found guilty, the agency would be responsible for liability payments of $150,000 to each claim.

If the state can show the agency has the money for a full claim they’d pay in full.

If not, they’d draw agency lapsed salary funds.

However, proof of damage to those filing lawsuits must be shown.

Each subject would have to prove how they’ve been impacted by the disease, and how severe their case was.

Above is a post from North Carolina’s Henderson County on September 30.

The survey takes about five minutes and is intended for people who attended the fair, sick or not.

It would help progress the investigation of where the disease began.

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