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Legionnaires’ Disease in the US

Posted on October 15, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse

Legionnaires' Infographic

We’ve been keeping you up-to-date on the outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in a Pennsylvania Veterans’ hospital, but now we are hearing about some incidents in different parts of the country. The Veterans Administration is trying not to take responsibility for that one and the administrator who was in charge is retiring, but seeking a large bonus.

Why is this disease not being prevented?

Late last week we read reports about another Veterans’ hospital, this one in Connecticut. Legionella, the bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ Disease, was found at low levels at the Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center in New Haven. There have been no confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease connected to this finding as yet, but keep in mind that the Legionella bacterium is not rare. It grows where it is given an opportunity to do so. Keeping water and ventilation systems uncontaminated and bacteria-free is important and a matter of proper maintenance.

This morning we read about 10 confirmed cases and 5 possible further cases of Legionnaires’ in Florence, Alabama. There have been no deaths as yet and we will hope that everyone recovers.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a risk anywhere there can be water vapor and is especially dangerous in facilities which house many people at a time, like hospitals, hotels and, of course, cruise ships. Showers, pools, saunas, faucets, even fountains can spread the potentially dangerous bacteria. We hope that these stories will cause the managers of these kinds of facilities to take the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease seriously and make sure that their water systems are legionella and indeed bacteria-free!

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