April 12, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

The Indianapolis Healthplex has been closed following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. The local gym has been closed since Sunday after several members were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. [1] Legionnaires’ disease is contracted when individuals breathe in particles contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Sources of exposure at gym or health center are many, as legionella bacteria can grow and become aerosolized through a number of different sources where water is being heated. Potable water systems, including faucets, showers, and saunas, can be sources where Legionella bacteria can grow. The first symptoms to appear are usually flu-like (fever, tiredness, muscle aches,…

March 22, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Today is one of the first full days of spring, which means the beginning of gardening season for many homeowners and gardening enthusiasts. However, what most gardeners do not know is that they could be exposing themselves to Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella bacteria, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease, lives in most organic material. This means that it can live in bags of potting soil, as well as the soil in the ground. In a previous case our office worked on, a bag of potting soil tested positive for Legionella bacteria. Our client used the contaminated potting soil and became very…

March 19, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This post highlights three past client’s cases to demonstrate the common scenarios where Legionnaires disease can be contracted. This post examines the potential sources of exposure that exist in a day spa and waterpark settings. For more information on the possible dangers of hot tubs, check out our blog post about it. In February 2017, our clients contracted Legionnaires disease following a visit to a local Sauna and Spa. Within days of each of their visits, they began suffering from symptoms that eventually led to their Legionnaires disease diagnosis.  The spa offered a variety of amenities including hot tubs, spas, saunas,…

March 15, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

There is currently an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Union County, New Jersey. The source of infection has not yet been identified. However, based on past cases that we have worked on we believe it is possible that the source of this outbreak could be cooling towers. In July and August 2015, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the Bronx that claimed 12 lives and infected at least 128 people. The outbreak caused widespread concern and weeks of uncertainty among residents.  Thanks to the hard work of epidemiologists and investigators, the source of the outbreak was identified: a…

March 15, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Growing hot tub sales could prove to be problematic. Most often, hot tub manufacturers and installers do not warn those buying hot tubs of the possibility that their hot tub could infect them with Legionnaires disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to most of the country spending more time at home than ever before. Subsequently, this has led to a huge increase in the sale of hot tubs for residential use.  Hot tubs can be beneficial. They are proven to reduce muscle pain and stress levels. However, the growing number of hot tub owners could prove to be dangerous. Hot…

March 6, 2021 zacherlaw 1 Comments

There is an ongoing outbreak of Legionnaires disease unfolding in Union County, New Jersey. Fourteen individuals have been confirmed to have Legionnaires disease and one person has died as a result of the disease. These cases were all reported between February 3rd through February 26th.  The New Jersey Department of Health alongside local health officials are currently investigating this outbreak. They have identified some potential sources of the Legionella bacteria and have begun the process of removing it. They have warned any resident or visitor of Union County that is experiencing symptoms consistent with Legionnaires disease to seek medical attention. [1] If you have…

February 1, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This post continues the discussion of the National Academies of Sciences management of Legionella in water systems report. Chapter two begins to delve into the diagnosis, ecology, and exposure pathways of Legionella. In our everyday life, humans live peacefully alongside a number of microbes, organisms so small they are invisible to the human eye. Most of these microbes are harmless and may are beneficial. However, there are groups of microbes that cause disease  In general, the impact of exposure to a particular microbe depends on three factors. Firstly, the quantity of microorganisms. Secondly, their capacity to cause harm. Lastly, the strength of an individual…

January 13, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

The next several blog posts are going to be a series that highlight a very important recent 2020 study published by the National Academies of Sciences about the management of Legionella in water systems. This comes at an important time, as Legionella is the number one cause of reported waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine produced a report that addressed the current state of the science with regard to Legionella. As a result, they included the current ecology, disease diagnosis, quantification, prevention and control, policy and guidance, and all associated research needs. The U.S. Centers…

December 15, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

As buildings continue to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, the risk of legionella exposure remains, including in schools that have been closed for many months. Stagnant water, like that in buildings that have been closed for extended periods, provides an ideal environment for Legionella to grow. At least 10 schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio found harmful bacteria in their plumbing when attempting to reopen this fall. Schools often have many water use locations, from gym showers to drinking fountains, making them vulnerable to bacterial growth, including Legionella, when the systems aren’t cared for properly. However, water researchers note that most…

December 7, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

Smithsonian Magazine recently published an article discussing rising rates of legionella exposure over the last two decades. While the United States has some of the safest drinking water in the world, due in large part to the passage of the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974, exposure to legionella continues to be an issue across the country. Legionella accounts for about 60% of waterborne disease outbreaks over the last decade, now the leading cause of outbreaks. While almost 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported to the CDC in 2018 experts suggest that the real number may be significantly…