WARNING! Legionnaires' Disease

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What is Legionnaires Disease? Answers

What is Legionnaires Disease?

According to the Centers for Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionnaires’ Disease is a type of pneumonia (lung infection), with symptoms that include Cough, Shortness of breath, Fever, Muscle aches, Headaches. This is the medical, the objective part of the disease. The subjective part is missing. Let’s complete the picture!

Here is the first case. A friend called me and say that her cousin had contracted the disease. A few days after that she entered the hospital, she died. Wanting to know the story from the inside, I went to the funeral home. I met the husband, the daughter, and the grandchildren of the victim. They were all in tears. Their picture imprinted into my mind. That marks the starting point of my actual mission against Legionnaires Disease.

The next cases present survivors.  Two years ago, I called Daniel. He was just recovering from Legionnaires Disease. A few months later, he passed away. The disease may have weakened his system, attacked some vital organs. Legionnaires Disease is a very serious illness. Here is another proof. Here is Calvin’s story. Calvin reported his experience in the book Never better.  Let me quote you some sentences of his book: ” Within a few dreadful days, I narrowly escaped death and lost the ability to speak plainly… During my recovery, I relearned simple activities most people take for granted, such as chewing gum, buttoning my shirt with ease…” Now that you know the severity of the illness, let see the causes of it!

 

What are the causes of Legionnaires Disease?

Let’s reformulate the question! How does someone contract Legionnaires Disease?  Someone gets the disease by inhaling water droplets infected by a bacteria called Legionella. The bacterium travels a long way before infecting someone. Here are the steps that it go through:

  1. First, Legionella is found in nature where it appears in almost every ground and surface water.
  2. Second, Legionella survives to municipal water treatment.
  3. Third, Legionella is introduced to homes, buildings, and industries’ water systems.
  4. Four, water systems often offer conditions that allow the bacteria to grow and incubate. At this stage, these water systems are at high risk to transmit the disease.
  5. Five, the water is sprayed in the atmosphere.
  6. Six, a person passes in the area and inhales the infected moisture.
  7. At final, he contracts the disease.

As you see, the causes of Legionnaires Disease are multiple. Let’s go to the sources!

Within a building, the sources of transmission can be linked to potable or nonpotable water systems. For potable water systems, showers, toilets, and faucets are the main types of equipment that are identified as sources. For non-potable water systems, ASHRAE Standard 188 enumerates cooling towers, evaporative condensers, whirlpools, spas, ornamental fountains as other sources of transmission of the disease. You should not close the list too early. Caution is a principle to use at all times. Here are great points to remember:

  • Any device that rejects aerosols can transmit Legionnaires Disease.
  • Cooling towers or evaporative condensers infected hundreds of people over the years.
  • Cooling towers have been the object of state regulation in the past.

 

What are the consequences of an outbreak?

A recent scientific report estimates that each year there are between 52000 and 70000 cases of LD in the United States. Having in mind that Legionella was first identified in 1976, that makes a lot of unfortunate victims like Martine, Daniel or, Calvin.

Among different types of buildings, Hotels are an important source of transmission. First, outbreaks often led to a decrease in hotel occupancy. Second, outbreaks greatly damage Hotels Brand. Third, numerous hotels were the object of Lawsuit Claims and Compensation. For instance, A case study reported that hotel guests sued a Las Vegas Strip resort and its builders for an amount of $337.5 million in damages. On top of all, some hotels even went to bankruptcy.

Don’t keep vulnerable! Prevention is the solution. Let’s take lessons from COVID-19! It’s just on time to go ahead with Legionnaires Disease Prevention