In June of last year, the CDC published an article entitled Legionnaires Disease on Rise in US. The report states that the rate of reported cases of Legionnaires’ Disease increased by 286% between 2000 and 2014. The total number of CDC-reported cases of Legionnaires Disease in 2000 was 1,100. By the year 2014 a total of 5,166 cases of LD were reported to the CDC. The most recent figures show that this upward trend has continued into 2015. In 2015, the CDC cites a total of 6,079 cases of Legionnaires Disease, a marked 17% increase of reported cases in just a year.
The article cites a handful of potential explanations for the rise in reported cases of Legionnaires Disease, but does not draw any conclusions. The most talked-about explanation among experts is the increased awareness surrounding Legionnaires Disease and its symptoms, this coupled with technological advances that has led to more accurate medical tests for Legionnaires Disease would result in increases in Legionnaires Disease diagnoses, which in turn get reported to the CDC. Though the article notes that Legionnaires Disease is under reported due to “[The] underutilization of diagnostic testing”.
The article also mentions that the aging of the nation’s populace is another possible explanation, as Legionnaires Disease typically affects older people, whose immune systems are more likely to be compromised. The ‘aging plumbing infrastructure’ of our nation has also been cited as a possible reason, as older water systems, if not maintained properly, will become breeding grounds for legionella bacteria. Global climate change was also listed as a possibility, as rising temperatures can allow legionella bacteria to multiply, thereby increasing the chances of a person acquiring Legionnaires Disease.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.