If you’re like most people, you have probably never heard of Legionnaires’ Disease before. It is a bacterial infection that can be deadly if not treated properly. Earlier this year, a cluster of cases were discovered in New York City’s Bronx borough, and two people who contracted the disease died.
In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about Legionnaires’ Disease. We will cover the symptoms, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent yourself from getting infected.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually appear two to ten days after exposure to the bacteria. If you think you may have Legionnaires’ Disease, it is important to see a doctor immediately as it can be fatal if not treated properly.
What causes Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionella pneumophila is the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ Disease. It is found in freshwater environments like lakes and rivers, and it can also be found in man-made water systems like cooling towers, hot tubs, and showers. People can become infected with Legionella pneumophila by breathing in small droplets of water that contain the bacteria.
In the case of the Bronx outbreak, the bacteria was found in four water cooling towers that provided water to local residents. Outbreaks have also been found in recent years in California, Michigan and at prisons in California, Florida and New Jersey. According to The Brockovich Report, Erin Brockovich’s website, nearly two-thirds of these types of cases are due to process failures, where water systems were not carefully monitored or properly managed to ensure they were free from contamination.
Despite being 100% preventable, the number of people with Legionnaires’ disease grew by nearly four times from 2000 to 2014. This statistic becomes more alarming as around 10% of people that suffer from Legionnaires’ disease can result in death. People who are more susceptible to the disease are older adults with chronic lung problems, compromised immune systems, or cigarette smokers.
How to Treat Legionnaires’ Disease
The disease is diagnosed through a combination of symptoms, exposure history, and laboratory testing. A chest x-ray or CT scan may also be ordered to look for signs of pneumonia.
Legionnaires’ Disease is treated with antibiotics, and the earlier the infection is caught, the better the chances are of a full recovery. People with Legionnaires’ Disease often need to be hospitalized to receive oxygen therapy and IV fluids.
What can you do to prevent it?
You can take some simple steps to prevent yourself from becoming infected with Legionella pneumophila. These include avoiding stagnant water, cleaning your showers, and using disinfectant in your hot tub or pool. Around one in two cases are a result of human error, such as a hot tub filter not being cleaned or replaced. However, in some cases, water quality can change due to external circumstances, such as nearby construction that can pollute the water.
If you think you may have Legionnaires’ Disease, it is vital to see a doctor immediately. With early diagnosis and treatment, most people make a full recovery. By following some simple prevention steps, you can help keep yourself safe from this potentially deadly infection.
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Our water filtration technology can help make this entirely preventable disease a thing of the past – here in North America and around the world.
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