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Troubled hotel slapped with lawsuits

Best Western is both sued and cleared for reopening

— The primary way to acquire the disease is from exposure to the bacteria when it’s breathed in as a mist or vapor, like in a shower or hot tub. The disease is not contagious and symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after exposure and include high fever, chills, cough and fatigue.

Conway is representing both guests and said he intends “to get to the bottom of how much the Albany Best Western was doing to prevent this outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease.” When Woodard first contracted the disease, Conway said the hotel “denied they had a problem with the bacteria” when confronted by Woodard.

He said both his clients, though now recovered, continue to suffer from lasting effects of the disease.

“(Swierczewski) is continuing to have muscle weakness and fatigue to this day,” said Conway. “(Woodard) is still having breathing issues.”

Conway hasn’t yet received a response from the hotel in regard to the lawsuits but said it’s still early in the case. Multiple calls to the Best Western Sovereign for comment were not returned.

In the most recent cases of the disease, two guests who stayed at the hotel in May were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease and water samples were collected during an environmental assessment of the hotel’s water system on Tuesday, May 29. Two days later, those tests indicated the possible presence of Legionella bacteria in the water supply and the county Health Department put out a release notifying guests who stayed at the hotel after May 15 to be on the lookout for symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease.

“As a precautionary measure, we are attempting to notify guests who might have been exposed to these bacteria during their stay at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel and are at risk of becoming ill,” read a notification on the county health department’s website.

About 25,000 people in the U.S. develop Legionnaires’ Disease each year, with an additional unknown number infected with the bacteria and experiencing mild or no symptoms, according to information from the health department. Outbreaks are most often in the summer but occur year-round.

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