May
22
2015
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NYC Dept of Health

In a public health alert last week on May 13,  the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that there has been an increase in the number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Queens.  Just from April to May, 2015 there have already been 10 confirmed cases involving Queens residents reported to the health department.

“When an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease occurs, it is important to be able to quickly identify the source of the Legionella to prevent others from becoming ill,” said Diane Miskowski , Legionella Program Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a laboratory that provides several different methods for testing for Legionella.   Ms. Miskowski emphasizes the importance of testing and for the bacteria saying, “Culturing is considered to be the gold standard worldwide, but there are also PCR and DNA sequencing test methods for rapid identification of the bacteria that can be instrumental during an outbreak.”

To read more about this story, please click here.

To learn more about EMSL, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 9:53 am
May
20
2015
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Wide Bay Hospital & Health Service

Earlier today, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Adrian Pennington confirmed that Legionella bacteria were detected at Hervey Bay Hospital in Australia.  This discovery came about after a patient was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease on April 20 and later passed away.

Mr. Pennington, however, said that the cause of the man’s death is still being investigated.  According to senior members of the Wilde Bay Hospital and Health Service, action is being taken to protect current patients including tap water restrictions; patients have been told to drink bottled water only and to avoid taking showers until more is known from the investigation.

“We have a rigorous testing process of our water in hospitals and when we have a positive result we err on the side of caution,” said Mr. Pennington.

The hospital is waiting on a second set of testing results, but until there is more information, patients will receive sponge baths and given bottled water.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 4:38 pm
May
19
2015
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NYC_Health.svg

Jules Zacher has filed a lawsuit against Co-op City, Bronx for the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that occurred in late 2014.  During this outbreak, at least a dozen people became ill with Legionnaires’ disease as a result of being on the Co-op City property.

The NYC Health Department Preliminary Test Results released on January 13, 2015 indicated that the source of the outbreak was the cooling towers at Co-op City and that 8 of the 12 confirmed cases associated with the facility were residents of Co-op City.

There have been no other updates from the NYC Health Department since the January release, however, Dr. Mary Bassett, health commissioner at the health department, said “The Health Department is concerned about this sudden increase in Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx.  We are conducting a thorough investigation and working closely with RiverBay Corporation to minimize the public risk and to prevent future cases.  I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away.”

To read more, please go to the NYC Health Department’s website here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:50 pm
May
14
2015
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city college brighton hove

Legionella bacteria were detected at City Revival, the hair and beauty salon at City College Brighton and Hove.  The hair salon was closed following this discovery, but the problem has apparently been going on for four weeks.

According to a source, “The hair salon has been closed, but all pipework is linked across the whole of Pelham Tower” and the staff were instructed to not discuss the Legionella problem.

“We are concerned for staff and student welfare and concerned by a lack of information,” the source continued.

In a statement given by the City College, a spokesman said “Due to a very low level of bacteria being detected in a single non-drinking water outlet in the City Revival salons during routine checks, City College has temporarily suspended hairdressing and washing facilities at the salon as an extra precaution while water treatment specialists continue to resolve the issue and ensure the water meets stringent industry standards, which are being maintained throughout Pelham Tower.

“The identification of bacteria has not resulted in the need for any other outlets to be isolated.

“Appropriate action has been taken and we are expecting the facilities to be available again shortly.”

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 10:37 am
May
13
2015
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The JTF mega discount warehouse in Fenton, Stoke on Trent where the Legionnaires outbreak is reported to have originated

A DIY chain in the UK is being sued by families of Legionnaires’ disease victims after an outbreak occurred due to a hot tub display at a garden center in 2012.

Richard Griffin, 64, William Hammersley, 79, and Harry Cadman, 71, all contracted Legionnaires’ disease after being exposed at JTF Warehouse in Stoke-on-Trent in the UK and ultimately died from the illness.

18 other cases of Legionnaires’ disease are associated with this outbreak, but it is suspected that there are many others who were affected by Legionella bacteria, but did not seek treatment.

A total of 14 of the survivors and their families took legal action against the garden center which had not cleaned the hot tub for weeks.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:54 pm
May
12
2015
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VA-Pittsburgh-logo

Michael E. Moreland, former director of the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System, who was in charge during the deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has returned to the Pittsburgh VA.

According to VA Pittsburgh spokesman Donald Manuszewski, Moreland was visited the VA on May 1 as part of a national VA contract with Shipcom Wireless, which is in a deal to improve supply deliveries at the 152 VA medical centers in the US.

Although Moreland’s presence at the VA enraged congressional leaders, union organizers, and families and victims of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, but Moreland claims he’s just doing his job.

“I’m a private citizen working for a private company.  That’s it.” said Moreland.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:23 pm
May
11
2015
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WHO

The WHO is offering advise to the media and scientists on giving names to diseases.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Spanish Flue are examples of the types of names the WHO suggests to avoid because they mention specific locations.

The WHO recommends against names which may incite fear, such as those including people’s names (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), or names that refer to specific occupations (Legionnaires’ disease).

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general for health security at the WHO said “This may seem like a trivial issue to some, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected.”

According to Dr. Fukuda, there has been backlash against members of certain religious and/or ethnic communities due to some disease names.  There have also been barriers to travel, commerce, and trade, and in some cases animals were slaughtered needlessly due to fear.

The WHO also tweeted on May 8 saying it is “Important to minimize unnecessary negative effects on nations economies and people when naming diseases.”

To read more about this story please click here and here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:32 pm
May
08
2015
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Ignite Gas Co

According to an article from the Yorkshire Evening Post, it is now a legal requirement to perform a risk assessment of both hot and cold water systems to check the threat of Legionella bacteria.

“This is the latest in a series of tougher laws with the aim of driving up safety standards in a fast-growing sector – handing the legal duty for doing so to agents and landlords,” said Jon Oldroyd, managing director of Ignite Gas Care.

“Gas safety checks and the testing of electrics have long played a key role in keeping tenants safe. But the Legionella assessment, coupled with the mandatory introduction of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors later this year, will now give them ultimate peace of mind.”

Some Legionella safeguards may include disinfecting water systems, cleaning shower heads, and multiple other methods.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:00 pm
May
06
2015
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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Chlorination treatments at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare campus have been effective at preventing the growth of Legionella bacteria, however, the disinfectant has also been eating away at the metal pipes throughout its plumbing system.

The premature corrosion could be shortening the lifespan of the piping by years which would result in pricey repairs and replacements.

The Tribune-Review obtained a 57-page analysis report which “blames high chlorination for pitted pipes and outright failures found in the water distribution system, where workers report occasional dark discharge from faucets.”

“This is a hospital, and we are afraid to drink the water,” said Colleen Evans who is a registered nurse and executive vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2028.

Dr. Brook Decker, infection prevention director at the VA Pittsburgh acknowledged that the dark tap water could be related to chlorine treatments.  She also said “[o]ur real goal is patient safety.  A trade-off of a little more maintenance and repair is worth it if we’re saving lives.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 6:19 pm
May
05
2015
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Centre-for-Health-Protection - HK

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health in Hong Kong released the latest news yesterday regarding an epidemiological investigation of a case of Legionnaires’ disease in Hong Kong that was first reported on April 21.

The 60-year-old man was admitted to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital (HKBH) on April 5 regarding a different health issue and began to develop symptoms consistent with Legionnaires’ disease on April 15.  He was transferred to a private hospital on April 20 and then was moved to the Intensive Care Unit a few days later on April 23, but is now in stable condition.

According to the report, the man had no travel history within the incubation period.

“In relation to investigation for the possible source of infection, water and environment samples were collected from HKBH and his residence for testing of Legionella, the bacteria causing LD, during our joint epidemiological and environment investigations with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD). The CHP again conducted a site visit to HKBH today and advised on the disinfection of the relevant water system. As precautionary measures, the CHP has recommended HKBH to install filters to the shower heads of the affected ward, and to provide boiled water for in-patients’ drinking and mouth rinsing as infection control,” a spokesman for the CHP said.

Multiple samples taken at HKBH tested positive for Legionella pneumphila serogroup 1, and all samples taken at the patient’s home came back negative.

The investigation is still ongoing.

To read more about this story please click here.

Visit the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:21 pm