Oct
28
2020
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Government officials have warned that gardeners are at higher risk of catching Legionnaires’ disease because Legionella bacteria, which lives in moist organic material, thrives in bags of potting mix and compost. Twenty-three known cases have been reported this year.

Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, which grows in moist, organic material. People can catch the disease by inhaling airborne droplets or particles containing the bacteria. To reduce dust, and therefore the likelihood of inhaling contaminated particles, gardeners can spray water onto their soil bags before use. When using soil, gardeners should wear masks, work in a ventilated area, and wash their hands often. These simple steps, says one health official, can be lifesaving.[1]

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/10/renewed-calls-for-gardeners-to-protect-themselves-against-deadly-legionnaires-disease.html

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 7:52 am
Oct
26
2020
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During a routine inspection at Rabin Medical Center in Israel on Monday, Legionnaires’ Disease was detected in a coronavirus ward at their Sharon Campus. The hospital administration said that none of the patients had developed symptoms of the disease and were all moved to an underground emergency ward for treatment.[1]

This story is still breaking. If there are any updates, we will publish them.  

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.ynetnews.com/article/S1e3y4N00P

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 12:09 pm
Oct
19
2020
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Legionnaires’ Disease was first discovered in Philadelphia in 1976 after 200 people became ill with a deadly form of pneumonia. They were attending an American Legion Convention at the Bellevue Hotel. Health officials eventually identified the cause: Legionella bacteria, which had been thriving in the building’s cooling towers, spread through the air conditioning system, aerosolized, and sickened unknowing pedestrians below.

Since 1976, a variety of plumbing problems and insufficient water management have resulted in outbreaks across the country. At least 87 people were infected with Legionnaires’ Disease in Flint, Michigan in 2014 and 2015 after the city switched water sources. In New York between 2006 and 2015, cooling towers were the source of more than 2,000 confirmed cases. From drinking water to cooling towers, Legionella bacteria pose a real threat to American health.

Attention to Legionnaires’ Disease has been further heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some health experts express concern that having been previously infected with a corona virusmakes individuals more susceptible to getting Legionnaires’ Disease. Others, like the CDC, have expressed concern over idle buildings during the shutdown, as stagnant water creates a perfect breeding ground for Legionella bacteria.[1] We need coordination at the federal level, because right now it is being dealt with piecemeal using litigation.   

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.consumerreports.org/water-quality/fears-of-legionella-in-drinking-water-grow-amid-pandemic/

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 8:55 am
Oct
12
2020
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Four days ago, a third resident of UAW Senior Citizens Center in Pekin recently contracted Legionnaires’ Disease. Just within the last two months, a man in his 70s died from the disease and a woman recovered but was hospitalized. Tazewell County Health Department’s communications manager said that the Illinois Department of Public Health is working with the building management to mitigate the water issues. There have been 8 cases of diagnosed Legionnaires’ Disease in Tazewell, though the TCHD’s communications managers says the other five cases are unrelated to the UAW outbreak. On September 10, the TCHD issued a public health alert for Legionnaires’ Disease, and a state senator sent a letter to the Director of the IDPH urging an investigation into the UAW outbreak. This matter could spiral out of control quickly, as people at the UAW are now living with the threat of two infectious diseases.[1]

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.wglt.org/post/uaw-center-s-3rd-legionnaires-case-county-s-8th-year#stream/0

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 11:40 am
Oct
02
2020
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Earlier this year, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance for reopening buildings that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because Legionella bacteria is at an increased risk of growing in stagnant water, the CDC published a list of 8 steps business and building owners should take to minimize Legionella growth before opening, which included properly maintaining the building’s water heater to at least 140 Degrees Fahrenheit, cleaning all cooling towers of stagnant pools of water, and flushing out all faucets before use.[1]

As of late September, the CDC has updated its guidance for reopening, particularly for at-risk occupants and invitees. To start, the CDC clarifies that for Legionella growth its introduction into a building’s water system depends upon the amount of time the system was shut down, the temperature that the water heater is set to, the amount of disinfectant in the system before shutdown, and any preexisting colonization of Legionella bacteria.[2] For its update to business owners, the CDC recommends that all occupants wear a “half-face air-purifying filter.” Additionally, any at-risk individual participating in flushing, cooling tower cleaning, or other activity that may generate aerosols should consult with a medical provider before being allowed to participate.[3]

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] For a fuller discussion of the CDC’s recommended steps see our publication dated August 31, 2020

[2] https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=77235445-5f90-4879-8ca5-36b6008c8749

[3] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 10:08 am
Oct
02
2020
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The Flanders Hotel in Ocean City, NJ recently completed more than $10 million in renovations, revamping almost every portion of the hotel and adding 21 new suits. But the expansion created major issues for the building’s HVAC system’s cooling towers: the old metal-clad tower struggled to provide adequate cooling for the expansion. To ensure comfort for their guests, the Flanders went about updating its cooling tower system.

After many consultations with engineers, the hotel’s Director of Operations came across a metal tower alternative constructed out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Little did the Flanders know that this alternative would come with some unexpected benefits. Pioneered by Delta Cooling Towers in the 1970s, the engineered plastic towers are impervious to corrosive environments and require fewer expensive water treatment chemicals as well as less downtown for repair. So, in addition to saving the hotel money, it also protects against the growth of pathogens like Legionella.

While the area has never had an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, the benefit was warmly welcomed. “Our old tower was a breeding ground for pathogens and other microorganisms, and we were very worried that it could cause a health threat to both the guests and our staff,” said the hotel’s Director of Operations. A major benefit to HDPE is that unlike metal, plastic can be manufactured with special antimicrobial resins that are fully compounded into the base cooling tower as well as the casing – effectively inhibiting harmful Legionella growth.

The Flanders Hotel had the HDPE tower installed just before Memorial Day 2019, and according to the Director of Operations all the rooms, from the ground floor to the penthouses, were very cool. Business owners across the U.S. could learn a thing or two from the Flanders.[1]

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://facilityexecutive.com/2020/09/hdpe-cooling-tower-its-cooler-on-the-jersey-shore/

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 10:07 am
Oct
02
2020
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Last week, Sheboygan County’s health department reported a second death from Legionnaires’ disease. Although the specific source of Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, is unknown, cases of the bacterial disease were reported at Millipore Sigma in Sheboygan Falls and Pine Haven Christian Communities’ Oostburg location. A Millipore Sigma representative said in an email last week that a few employees reported flu-like symptoms and tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease after routine cleaning and maintenance of the site’s wastewater facility. The exposure is suspected to have come from a piece of equipment in the company’s wastewater treatment plant.

Oostburg Village President is confident, after testing for the disease multiple times, that there are no Legionella bacteria in the water. Though public health officials are still warning to avoid drinking tap water if they have an immune-compromising preexisting condition. Though it is important to keep in mind that drinking contaminated water alone will not infect a human being with Legionnaires’ disease: one would need to accidentally inhale or aspirate some of the water in order for the bacteria to enter the system. Therefore, people with difficulty swallowing may be more likely to contract the disease from drinking water.[1]

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/2020/09/21/sheboygan-legionnaires-outbreak-two-deaths-reported/5854660002/

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 10:06 am
Sep
30
2020
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Hamilton Township officials announced Friday September 25, 2020 that a potential cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases has been discovered. Four township residents are confirmed to have contracted the disease, two of whom died. Sources at the New Jersey Department of Health say the residents began exhibiting symptoms between August 18 and August 24. Although relatively uncommon in New Jersey, officials have been quick to issue township-wide warnings. “If you’re not feeling well and have respiratory illness symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headache I encourage you to speak with your medical provider,” said one township health official.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, and is contracted by inhaling or ingesting contaminated water. Aerosolized water, or water droplets, can come from cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings), hot tubs, water displays like a decorative fountain, and plumbing systems. The source of Hamilton’s potential outbreak is currently unknown. “NJDOH and the Hamilton Township Division of Health are working closely together to identify possible sources,” says the Medical Director at the New Jersey Department of Health. “Since this is a continuing investigation, healthcare providers are urged to test patients with community-acquired and healthcare-acquired pneumonia for Legionnaires’ disease, especially among residents of Hamilton Township.”[1] The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease and COVID-19 can be very similar, which makes immediately contacting your medical provider about the possibility of Legionnaires’ that more important.

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.


[1] https://www.tapinto.net/towns/hamilton-slash-robbinsville/sections/health-and-wellness/articles/health-officials-investigating-potential-cluster-of-legionnaires-disease-in-hamilton

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 8:43 am
Sep
21
2020
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Government officials have warned that gardeners are at a higher risk of catching Legionnaires’ disease because Legionella bacteria, which live in moist organic material, thrive in bags of potting mix and compost. One official says that cases typically spike in early November, but that in she sees cases notified from September onward due to an increase in gardening activity. Three weeks ago, a 59-year-old keen gardener was using potting mix to plant some seedlings in his greenhouse. He began to feel unwell but thought it was just the flu. But the fevers quickly turned to coughing up blood. He was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at the hospital where he spent three days in the emergency ward. “I contracted Legionnaires’ disease through the potting mix,” he said, and urges gardeners to wear masks and gloves.[1]

Like with COVID-19 all ages can be affected by Legionnaires’ disease, but it mainly affects people over 50 and people with a compromised immune system. Susceptible people catch the disease by breathing in airborne particles from a water source that contains Legionella bacteria, or after inhaling dust from soil. Once in the lungs the bacteria multiply and can form a deadly form of pneumonia. So, heed this advice and do not just wear masks in public: wear them while gardening.  

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.      


[1] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12366130

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 1:29 pm
Sep
17
2020
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CDC Headquarters in Atlanta. The CDC had to close some of its office space due to the presence of Legionella bacteria in its water supply.

Ironically, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has closed several of its buildings in Atlanta because Legionella bacteria have been found in their water systems. These bacteria likely grew because of the pandemic shutdown. Legionella, which grows in warm or stagnant water, causes a deadly form of pneumonia. Left untreated, Legionnaires Disease can kill a person within weeks, and when treated properly can still take more than a year to recover from. The CDC says Legionella bacteria is a problem that people across the country need to be on the lookout for, especially now. The plumbing in its buildings have been closed for months and could provide a perfect breeding ground for water borne pathogens like Legionella.

Last year, 4,294 cases of Legionaries Disease were reported to the CDC. So far this year, 1, 813 cases have been reported. It is not clear yet whether the pandemic has worsened the problem because people are not gathering at large hotels or working in huge factories as much. But as our economy begins to open, surveillance of businesses’ potable water systems will be necessary. As people return to work and start travelling again, hospitals need to think about the possibility of Legionella. Poorly maintained cooling towers and under-sanitized potable water are two major causes of Legionella growth and are likely to be the catalysts for more contractions as the pandemic shutdown comes to an end. Just ask the CDC themselves.  

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO CREATE, AND RECEIPT OF IT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE, AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. YOU SHOULD NOT ACT UPON THIS INFORMATION WITHOUT SEEKING PROFESSIONAL COUNSEL. WE CANNOT REPRESENT YOU UNTIL AND UNLESS WE CONDUCT WITH YOU AN INITIAL INTAKE, ACCEPT YOUR CASE, AND THEN COMPLETE AN AGREEMENT OF REPRESENTATION SIGNED BY BOTH PARTIES.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 7:53 am
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