March 22, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Today is one of the first full days of spring, which means the beginning of gardening season for many homeowners and gardening enthusiasts. However, what most gardeners do not know is that they could be exposing themselves to Legionnaires’ disease. Legionella bacteria, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease, lives in most organic material. This means that it can live in bags of potting soil, as well as the soil in the ground. In a previous case our office worked on, a bag of potting soil tested positive for Legionella bacteria. Our client used the contaminated potting soil and became very…

March 19, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

This post highlights three past client’s cases to demonstrate the common scenarios where Legionnaires disease can be contracted. This post examines the potential sources of exposure that exist in a day spa and waterpark settings. For more information on the possible dangers of hot tubs, check out our blog post about it. In February 2017, our clients contracted Legionnaires disease following a visit to a local Sauna and Spa. Within days of each of their visits, they began suffering from symptoms that eventually led to their Legionnaires disease diagnosis.  The spa offered a variety of amenities including hot tubs, spas, saunas,…

March 15, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

There is currently an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Union County, New Jersey. The source of infection has not yet been identified. However, based on past cases that we have worked on we believe it is possible that the source of this outbreak could be cooling towers. In July and August 2015, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the Bronx that claimed 12 lives and infected at least 128 people. The outbreak caused widespread concern and weeks of uncertainty among residents.  Thanks to the hard work of epidemiologists and investigators, the source of the outbreak was identified: a…

March 6, 2021 zacherlaw 1 Comments

There is an ongoing outbreak of Legionnaires disease unfolding in Union County, New Jersey. Fourteen individuals have been confirmed to have Legionnaires disease and one person has died as a result of the disease. These cases were all reported between February 3rd through February 26th.  The New Jersey Department of Health alongside local health officials are currently investigating this outbreak. They have identified some potential sources of the Legionella bacteria and have begun the process of removing it. They have warned any resident or visitor of Union County that is experiencing symptoms consistent with Legionnaires disease to seek medical attention. [1] If you have…

February 17, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

Seventeen cases of Legionnaires disease have been identified in January in a recent outbreak in Sydney and the Illawarra region of Australia. The Health Director in New South Wales issued a statement where he expressed that while there tends to be a slight uptick in cases around the end of summer, a spike of this size is cause for concern. [1]  This outbreak has prompted health officials to issue a warning that air conditioning towers, referred to as cooling towers in the United States, need to be properly maintained. Regulations were introduced in these regions in 2012 that require business…

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…

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…