July 29, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

A new study by a team at Virginia Tech has linked the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint, MI to the city’s decision to switch its water supply. Flint suffered a surge in cases of Legionnaires’ disease from 2014 to 2015, with nearly 100 people sickened and 12 deaths. The death toll could have been higher, as Legionnaires’ disease often masquerades as pneumonia and goes unreported. Health officials assumed that the city’s decision to switch its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River was to blame, but no tests were done at the time of the outbreak. (An…

July 25, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As Philadelphia prepares for a four-day convention in the heat of July, some residents are recalling another convention forty years ago and hoping that news will be made by politicians rather than CDC officials. The American Legion convention of July 21-24, 1976, where over 200 people were sickened and 34 died, is now remembered for sparking the first public health crisis covered by modern mass media. In an opinion piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Marc Weingarten of Locks Law Firm discusses the discovery of the disease and its implications on public health funding and research. The suffering of those who…

July 8, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

A recent Huffington Post article draws attention to the nationwide problem of Legionnaires’ disease and to the benefits of mandatory tests for the disease. In a June 30 piece, Joseph Erbentraut discusses the deadly risk of Legionnaires’ disease as well as the surprising absence of legislation to prevent it. Erbentraut was prompted to write the piece by the recent Legionellosis outbreak in Flint, MI, but the article draws attention to the nationwide prevalence of the disease and the threat it poses to the elderly and infirm. Experts quoted in the article point out the fact that Legionnaires’ disease is often underreported as its…

June 29, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

A new website aimed at spreading information about Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease has recently been launched. PreventLegionnaires.org provides basic facts about disease transmission and prevention, and offers advice to managers and businesses on how to manage risk and implement plans to keep Legionella in check. The website also offers downloadable resources specific to healthcare facilities and industrial or commercial buildings. PreventLegionnaires.org is published in association with the CDC and a number of health organizations, and it is funded by several companies that produce cooling towers. Cooling towers have sometimes been to blame for the spread of Legionella.   For more…

May 2, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Treatment of Legionnaires’ disease typically involves a series of antibiotics that seek out and kill the present bacteria in a person’s system. This type of treatment is generally very effective, but as discussed in previous posts on this blog, there is concern about overuse of antibiotics leading to drug-resistant bacteria. However, a new potential treatment method has emerged as a secondary effect of specific cancer drugs. BH3-mimetic drugs target and switch-off BCL-XL proteins inside cells. This helps with cancer treatment because it prevents the cancer cells from surviving apoptosis – programmed cell death. Coincidentally, the BCL-XL protein is…

March 10, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

         The marvel of modern medicine has drastically changed the way society functions on an everyday basis. Obviously the benefits of the advancements from the past century outweigh the drawbacks, but some issues have arisen from our progress that threaten the very purpose for which the advancements were made. For instance, the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillen, in 1928 by Alexander Fleming was one of the most groundbreaking advancements in modern history, and has allowed for the treatment of bacterial infections since. This greatly reduced the death rate and pioneered a new realm of medicine that has been…

March 8, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

        Most occupations adhere to standards of safety or quality that are developed over many years, and designing interior building systems is no exception. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) is an organization that produces updated standards and guidelines for jobs involving central systems in buildings. The guidelines are not guaranteed to prevent accidents or eradicate risks, but are generally considered the best ways to prevent undesirable occurrences. The ASHRAE 12-2000 Guideline, entitled Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems, focuses on what architects, construction companies, and maintenance employees…

January 12, 2016 zacherlaw 0 Comments

   Taking a shower is a staple of personal hygiene, and is generally considered a necessity. It is important to stay clean, and showers provide us with that luxury, but the environment that cleans us can also house a number of harmful substances and organisms if not properly maintained. Mirror posted an article detailing a few different ways “your shower could kill you”, and while the article is a little more alarmist than necessary it does provide some interesting facts on a few different bacteria, fungi, and pathogens that can help identify preventative measures. Additionally, the article identifies which populations are…