Legionnaires’ disease is a rare and dangerous form of bacterial pneumonia causedby Legionella bacteria. The bacteria was discovered in 1976 when people got sick afterpresence an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, hence the name. The disease is not spreadable between people. Instead, it spreads when peoplebreathe in mist or vapor that cover the bacteria.
Large, complex water systems—such as those used by hotels, hospitals or largeapartment buildings—may be mainly susceptible to a feast of Legionnaires’ disease. Inplaces where the water system develops contaminated by Legionella, showers andcentral air conditioning—even hot tubs and attractive water fountains—could exposeyou to the bacteria.
When Legionnaires’ is most dangerousLegionnaires’ disease sends between 8,000 and 18,000 people in the United States tothe hospital each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). The death rate is about 10 percent overall. Ironically, the hospital is one placewhere you’re more likely to pick up the disorder, along with other health care amenities.The CDC released a report in June 2017 that examined data from outbreaks in 20states and New York City. It found that 76 percent of the authorities studied haderuptions in health care settings—hospitals, clinics or nursing home.Symptoms and treatmentThe most common signs of Legionnaires’ disease contain fever, cough and shortness ofbreath. Other symptoms could be pains, body aches, diarrhea, nausea and confusion.
Symptoms normally take between two days and two weeks to grow. Though, noteverybody bare to the disease-causing bacteria gets sick.Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease are preserved with oral antibiotics, though moresevere cases might need hospitalization and the use of IV antibiotics. Actions runbetween seven and 21 days, and patients typically begin feeling well between three andfive days after the onset of signs.
What can you do?
Since Legionella bacteria incline to spread in public water structures, there’s not a lotyou can do. If you live in an apartment building, you can ask your building manager ifthe building has a water organization system that disheartens the developmentof Legionella bacteria. And, if you’re at advanced danger, you might want to avoid publicwater sources like hot tubs and pretty fountains. The CDC tracks Legionnaires’ diseaseoutbreaks on its website.
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