January 29, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This post continues the discussion of the National Academies of Sciences management of Legionella in water systems report. Chapter one serves as an introduction that outlines how Legionella spreads, as seen in Part 1. This post focuses on the many possible sources of infection. Legionnaires’ disease has been known to have outbreaks at places where there is both biofilm growth and the potential for aerosolization. Many such areas exist in man-made structures, including components of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems such as cooling towers and humidifiers; indoor plumbing (called premise plumbing) including outlets such as showerheads and faucets; as well as spas…

January 27, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

In the United States, incidence of Legionnaires’ disease increased more than six times from 2000 to 2018. Additionally, this number is commonly known to be under reported. This post continues the discussion of the National Academies of Sciences management of Legionella in water systems report. Chapter one serves as an introduction that outlines how Legionella spreads, and how the country currently handles it.  Despite numerous reports of common-source outbreaks in the community, through travel or through hospital exposures, and despite improvements in laboratory tools, the vast majority of Legionella cases remain sporadic. Sporadic cases mean that they are community-acquired cases for which the primary exposure source…

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…

January 11, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

On Tuesday, those who live at the Rosemont Court Apartments in Portland were told they needed to evacuate the building. Furthermore since then, nearly 100 residents of the building have been temporarily moved into motels until the building’s water system and plumbing can be properly cleaned and determined to be safe.  As a result, another four people are presumed to have Legionnaires disease based on new symptoms, the county health department said. The first symptoms to appear are usually flu-like (fever, tiredness, muscle aches, and headache). Signs of a serious Legionella lung infection include cough and chest pain. As of Thursday, Multnomah…

January 7, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

The health department confirmed that experts have linked the outbreak to the apartments water system. People can contract Legionnaires disease when they breathe in very small droplets of water contaminated with the Legionella bacteria. Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines spoke to the press about this incident. She informed them that the plumbing has since been shut off in the building due to the outbreak. Vines also said the health department is working to find out whether water supplied to other nearby properties is also affected. As a result, the county is working to clean the building’s plumbing system and remove any remaining…

December 30, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

Continued from the last post, this post will explore the results of the CDC study and estimate the actual burden of these waterborne diseases. There were 6,630 deaths attributed to waterborne diseases. Legionnaires disease had the second highest number of deaths of the 17 waterborne illnesses studied. Legionnaires disease also had the second highest cost per hospital stay of all the illnesses at approximately $37,200. The 17 waterborne diseases incurred $3.33 billion in total hospitalization and emergency department costs. This amount included $1.33 billion in commercial insurer payments, $1.52 billion in Medicare payments, and $284 million in Medicaid payments. 7,150,000 illnesses attributed to waterborne…

December 30, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently published a new study estimating the burden and direct healthcare costs of infectious waterborne diseases in the United States. They chose to study waterborne diseases that were likely to causes substantial illness or death, and this includes Legionnaires disease. The goal of this study is to help direct preventative action moving forward and set public health goals.  New information from the CDC estimates total illnesses, emergency department visits, hospitalizations, deaths, and direct healthcare costs for 17 waterborne infectious diseases, Legionnaires diseases included. The CDC determined about 7.15 million waterborne illnesses occur annually. …

December 22, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

In the United States since 2000, reported cases of Legionnaires disease have been steadily increasing. The CDC estimates that there are approximately 5,000 cases and 20 outbreaks of Legionnaires disease reported annually in the United States. [1] The majority of these cases are preventable, as they occur when buildings and facilities fail to properly maintain their water systems.  Researchers estimate the economic burden of Legionnaires disease cases in just one year tops over $800 million. In 2014, the exact figure of the economic burden of Legionnaires disease was approximately $835 million. This estimate includes medical expenses, and the productivity losses cause…

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…