September 6, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As recently reported on our blog, there is an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Harlem, NY. Additionally, dozens are sick after they were exposed this month at Duke University’s fantasy basketball camp. All over the country, cases of Legionnaires’ disease appear to be on the rise. Michigan noted an alarming statistic in July of an increase of 569% from July 2020. This is a huge spike in reported Legionnaires’ disease cases, with over 100 cases being reported in Michigan in the first half of July alone. [1] Many individuals are returning to buildings like schools and offices that have been…

May 8, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

On Wednesday, May 5th Democratic Policy Committee held a virtual policy hearing on Legionella prevention in Pennsylvania and the concerns as buildings begin to reopen. Stagnant water, like that in buildings that have been closed for extended periods, provides an ideal environment for Legionella to grow. They are particularly vulnerable to bacterial growth, including Legionella, when the systems aren’t cared for properly. Despite these serious risks, there is currently no regulations in the state of Pennsylvania regarding legionnaires disease and water management. “Legionnaire’s disease is a largely preventable disease,” said Dr. Richard Miller, Co-Founder/President/Chief Scientific Officer at Environmental Safety Technologies, Inc. during the policy hearing…

February 1, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This post continues the discussion of the National Academies of Sciences management of Legionella in water systems report. Chapter two begins to delve into the diagnosis, ecology, and exposure pathways of Legionella. In our everyday life, humans live peacefully alongside a number of microbes, organisms so small they are invisible to the human eye. Most of these microbes are harmless and may are beneficial. However, there are groups of microbes that cause disease  In general, the impact of exposure to a particular microbe depends on three factors. Firstly, the quantity of microorganisms. Secondly, their capacity to cause harm. Lastly, the strength of an individual…

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…

October 28, 2020 zacherlaw 0 Comments

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…

October 2, 2020 zacherlaw 0 Comments

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…

October 2, 2020 zacherlaw 0 Comments

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…

August 31, 2020 zacherlaw 0 Comments

For months, many businesses, buildings, and facilities have remained closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. The temporary shutdowns have likely resulted in a reduction of normal water use in the buildings, which can create dangerous conditions for returning occupants, as States are reopening their local economies. One microbial hazard businesses should consider when planning their reopening is Legionella. Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia. It is found naturally in freshwater environments, but can grow and multiply in common, human-made water systems like hot tubs, spas, showerheads, decorative fountains and water features, large plumbing systems, and cooling towers…