Recently there has been some concern over an increase in cases of Legionnaire’s disease and an official outbreak in New York, California, and Illinois has been confirmed.
Legionnaire’s disease is caused by an infection from the Legionella bacteria. This bacteria grows in warm water and is most often spread through the air through air conditioning units, fountains, hot tubs, and larger plumbing systems. Fortunately, this not a communicable disease, however it can cause fatal bouts of pneumonia.
“The number of cases reported to CDC has been on the rise over the past decade,” said a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman in a recent statement. “This may reflect a true increase in the frequency of disease (aging of the population, more high-risk individuals, climate), increased use of diagnostic testing, or more reliable reporting to CDC.”
And, of course, health and veterans affairs officials continue to update the outbreak on Legionnaires’ disease. “Legionella bacteria likes to live in warm water so as water stands in pipes and as temperatures increase there is a more likelihood for that bacteria to grow,” comments Shay Drummond, who is the Director of Clinical and Environmental Services for Adams County Wednesday. Drummond also goes on to say, “Maintenance of all of your water systems and your heating and air conditioning, shower head.”
Furthermore, he explains, “In the northern tier of states there’s more Legionnaires’ disease than there is in the south or far West. That’s been a pattern for a long time. Could this be a difference in testing practices and doctors in those areas?”
Either way, if doctors suspect legionella infection they begin the treatment for pneumonia before diagnosing to save time (because even minutes can matter if the infection grows fatal).