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What is Legionnaires Disease?

Legionellosis is an infection that is potentially fatal. It is caused by certain bacteria that is a member of the Legionella genus. The patients who have this type of infection usually have a certain aquatic organism that has survived under certain conditions and has caused the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. Legionnaires' disease is additionally called legion fever. The symptoms of this strain of bacteria infection include a high fever and pneumonia. The same bacteria may cause a milder respiratory illness that does not exhibit pneumonia symptoms. The milder strain of this disease may resemble acute influenza and is called Pontiac fever. Pontiac fever may have a sudden resolution.

LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE

Legionnaires' disease was first diagnosed in 1976 during an outbreak of pneumonia symptoms. These particular symptoms were noticed during a convention of the American Legion at a hotel in Philadelphia. The cause of the symptoms was discovered to be a strain of bacteria that could manifest in various ways. Some of the attendants at the legion convention displayed high fever and possible pneumonia symptoms. Other attendants at the same convention were infected with a milder form of the same disease. Some legion members displayed no illness.

The number of legion attendants who contracted this disease and the unusual symptoms that these people displayed caused this medical outbreak to receive significant media coverage. Legionnaires' disease may occur more frequently in the summer and early fall, and the disease seems to affect those who are middle-age or older.

Detecting this Disease

This disease may have various signs to watch for that include the following:

  1. Legionnaires' disease may initially display as a fever and a cough. The person may feel chilled and have muscle aches. A headache may appear, and the individual may feel tired with certain motor coordination abnormalities. The patient may not have an appetite or may feel nauseous. There may be diarrhoea and vomiting. 
  2. Cognitive impairment and confusion may be significant problems.
  3. A low or low normal heart rate may be evident.
  4. Lab tests may show abnormal renal or electrolyte results. 
  5. Other tests may be in order to further diagnose this type of infection from other similar infections including pneumonia. 
  6. Patients who display the milder infectious symptoms or Pontiac fever may recover in two to five days and usually do not need extensive treatment. 
  7. The time from the exposure to the bacteria to the onset of the illness may be from two to ten days. The milder symptoms may display in a few hours up to two days.

Treating the Disease

Various treatments for Legionnaires' disease have focused on the bacteria pathogen that has invaded the patient's respiratory tract. There have been skin infections with this disease that have been a focus of treatment as well.

How to Prevent Legionella

Finding the beginning of the pathogen transmission has been the basic plan in order to stop this type of disease. Infections begin by inhaling air borne particles that contain the bacteria. These air borne particles tend to form from water or water droplets that suspend in particles that cannot be seen in a normal state. These invisible particles may be inhaled, and the person is unaware that this problem has occurred.

See List for all Legionella Testing Areas and Water Quality Law

Preventative Measures for Legionnaires Disease

Preventive measures for Legionnaires' disease may include the following:

  1. Cooling towers and public water supplies may need to be further inspected and thoroughly cleaned.
  2. Air scrubbers need to be inspected for high velocity and high humidity.
  3. Windshield washers may need to be thoroughly cleaned, and the vehicle water reserve may need to be inspected and refilled with clean water. Professional drivers tend to contract this disease at a rate that is five times the normal rate of contraction.
  4. Removing mould and stagnant water may be ways for public companies to avoid any issues with this type of infectious disorder. 
  5. Various working groups may need to share knowledge and information regarding this kind of public infection problem and its consequences. 
  6. A type of copper-silver ion application may be used to eradicate certain water distribution problems that may cause this disease.

Aquacert has a full range of Legionella Testing Kits available

Author: +Duncan Hollis

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