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Lady Luck? No, Legionnaires’

Posted on February 07, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse


It was reported last week in the New York Daily News that there has been an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas.

Legionnaires’ was first identified and named after the bacteria ran through an American Legion convention being held in Philadelphia, PA in 1976.  The epidemic got a lot of press at the time, since it occurred within days of the Bicentennial and in a population of US veterans.  This outbreak sickened 221 and caused the deaths of 34.


What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionellosis or Legion Fever is a potentially fatal bacterial infection that causes a high fever and pneumonia.  It incubates over a period of between 2 and 10 days. Not everyone who is exposed to the Legionella bacterium gets sick, but of those who do the mortality rate can be as high as 30%.  If it is contracted in the hospital the death rate can go up to 50%!


Where are Legionella bacteria found?

The bacterium is found in almost all natural water sources and is not thought to be a threat from them. However it does breed in warm water, like that found in the air conditioning systems of large buildings, hot tubs, hot water tanks, plumbing systems and indoor ornamental fountains.

Hotels are at risk, as are hospitals, cruise ships and prison facilities.

How do you catch Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ does not pass from person to person, but if the water system of a building is breeding the bacteria, it is easy to be exposed.  Any water vapor or condensation can put infectious molecules into the air where they stay until someone inhales them.  Ice machines, air conditioners, steam rooms, showers, misters, anywhere there is water that is connected to the water supply of the building can produce disease causing water vapor.

People at higher risk for contracting Legionnaires’ are: those over 50, smokers and those with chronic lung disease, but anyone can come down with this or it’s milder cousin, Pontiac Fever.


How Do You Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks?

Since Legionella is present everywhere, the most important factor in prevention of disease is proper cleaning, disinfection and maintenance.  The Luxor Hotel has a testing schedule and, in fact, had tested for Legionella earlier in the year with a negative result.  They also treat their water systems preventatively on a maintenance schedule.

AirTek is proud to offer services which prevent the outbreak of deadly Legionnaires’ Disease all over California for any commercial building or facility.  We can clean, disinfect and maintain any commercial or residential HVAC system, ensuring fewer allergies and a healthier indoor environment for you, your family, your employees and your guests.

Contact AirTek for an estimate of your project and if you have any questions or need more information about Legionnaires’ Disease and how to make your indoor air cleaner and safer!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group.  She welcomes your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental  on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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