5 Facts About Legionnaires’ Disease
As some people know Legionnaire’s Disease is a very serious is a lung infection which you can catch by inhaling droplets of water from various systems such as air conditioning or hot tubs. Although Legionnaires’ Disease is uncommon, it is very dangerous and can cause the person who contracted the disease to become very ill or in some cases die.
Here are 5 facts about Legionnaire’s Disease
How it got its name
Why is Legionnaires’ disease called Legionnaires’ disease? Well, the bacterium responsible for Legionnaires’ disease was identified in 1976, after an outbreak at a hotel in Philadelphia, USA. In the first case of its kind, the group of people who were affected by the disease were retired American service personnel who were attending a Legion convention. Since the outbreak in 1976, outbreaks and other confirmed cases have been reported from countries all over the world, many of them linked to hotels and other types of holiday accommodation.
Can the patient be treated?
The good news is Legionnaires’ disease is treatable. Whilst most cases are treated successfully with antibiotics, patients often still require treatment in hospital. Once a person contracts Legionnaire’s Disease they are more likely to become ill or seriously ill and require urgent treatment. In some cases, the disease can be fatal, this is why it is extremely important to carry out regular Legionella Risk Assessments and avoid any contamination. People more at risk include people over age 50, smokers, people with a chronic lung disease such as COPD, and people with a weakened immune system.
Legionnaires’ disease can be accompanied by complications including respiratory failure, septic shock, and acute kidney failure. The best course of action is to detect the illness early on and to seek treatment with antibiotics as soon as possible. This way the patient has a higher chance of not developing further complications from this deadly disease.
Where is it found?
Legionella bacteria are usually found in water. Legionnaires’ Disease bacteria occur naturally in the environment and grow best in warm water. Specific areas where you might encounter the bacteria include cooling towers, hot tubs and whirlpool spas, hot water tanks, decorative fountains or pools, and large plumbing systems.
Prevention is key
As with most illnesses which are caused by bacteria, it is impossible to eradicate the disease completely, however, with the right preventative action we can collectively try and reduce the number of cases. At Water Hygiene Services a large proportion of our work is monitoring establishments to ensure they are compliant and their water is safe for consumption. Our work includes weekly flushing, monthly visits and quarterly checks and much more.
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