Entries in Legionnaires' Disease (4)


Scotland Dealing with Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak

Malcolm Fife/Photodisc(LONDON) -- Scotland is in the grip of a Legionnaires' disease outbreak centered in a specific part of Edinburgh. There are a few dozen confirmed and suspected cases and given the incubation period, more are expected before it peaks.

“No link has been identified between these patients other than a general association with the affected area in the southwest of Edinburgh,” Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said. “And what that does is underline the view that the source of this infection is an outdoor, community source and not an indoor specific source such as would be the case if it was a spa in a hotel. And that points as we have been saying very firmly, to cooling towers in the southwest of Edinburgh.”

Those suspected sites are being dealt with immediately, as if they were the confirmed source or sources of the outbreak.

“Samples have been taken from all of those towers and as we have already indicated, all of them have been subject to what we call shock treatment, which is effectively chemical treatment to deal with the risk of ongoing infection,” Sturgeon said.

Patients are said to be responding well to antibiotic treatment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Dies After Contracting Legionnaires' Disease at Dentist's Office

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ROME) -- An 82-year-old Italian woman died after she contracted Legionnaires' disease, a severe, pneumonia-like illness, from the water in her dentist's office, according to a case report published in the journal The Lancet.

Scientists who determined the source of the woman's illness, which occurred in February 2011, said during the disease's incubation period the woman only left her home twice to visit her dentist.

When they tested the water in both places, they discovered the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' in the dentist's water line.  Water lines carry water from the main water supply to certain devices used during patient care.

While the authors wrote the most common sources of infection are air conditioning systems, hot water systems, spas and fountains, a recent study found dental water lines to be another major source of contamination with Legionella bacteria.  Legionella pneumophila is the bacterial strain that causes Legionnaires' disease.

"However, as far as we are aware, no case of Legionnaires' disease has been associated with this source of infection," added the authors, led by Maria Luisa Ricci of the Italian National Health Service.

While it was not clear what kind of water line standards were in place in Italy, in the U.S., the American Dental Association (ADA) said infection control standards are very stringent in order to prevent cases like the one in Italy from happening.

"Since the ADA convened a special task force in the mid-1990s focusing on infection prevention, there have been a number of recommendations made to treat the water and keep the number of bacteria down," said John Molinari, the ADA's spokesman on infection control, infectious diseases and allergic reactions.

The ADA recommends that dental water lines contain no more than 500 colony-forming units of bacteria per milliliter of water, the same limit recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ADA also recommends that dentists monitor water quality and maintain a water reservoir that is separate from the municipal water supply, as well as use filters that will keep microorganisms out of the water.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hospital Fountain Linked to Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in Wis.

Pixland/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Wisconsin has been linked to a decorative fountain found in a hospital lobby, according to a new study released Tuesday online in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Eight people were tested in 2010 after exhibiting symptoms of the Legionnaires' disease, which include fever, chills, headaches and coughing. All had contracted a severe form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacterium and tested positive for the disease, which is transmitted by inhaling contaminated water.

Interestingly enough, none of the new patients were admitted to the hospital at the time they were exposed, leading experts to question the one common source of water: the lobby fountain.

"Legionella is very tolerant of higher water temperatures, it loves water," said Dr. Christopher Ohl, professor of infectious diseases at Wakeforest Baptist Medical Center.  "It could happen anywhere, in a hotel, in an office building...really any water fountain has a potential of having this happen."

Three of the patients who contracted the disease were visiting the hospital as outpatients, while three others were simply picking up medication.  The remaining two patients were either delivering materials to the facility or waiting in the lobby during a relative's appointment.  Six out of the eight patients remembered passing directly through the lobby and past the fountain.

According to Ohl, Legionella typically effects people whose immune systems are compromised. All of the patients who tested positive for the disease reported underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or alcoholism that would have left them vulnerable to illness.

While Legionella has been reported in other places involving water, Ohl says Americans should not be afraid of walking past decorative fountains in general.

"I don't think people should be afraid of this," he said. "It could just as easily been the water system in your own home, from a shower at the YMCA...It's really impossible to reduce your risk."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Deadly Legionnaires' Disease Sickens Guests on Las Vegas Strip

JupiterImages/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Nevada health authorities are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that has been reported at the posh 4,000-room Aria Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Four guests who stayed at the resort were treated for the bacteria-borne disease, but many more may have been exposed from June 21 to July 4.

In the past, air-conditioning systems, showers and hot tubs had been the suspected culprits in larger Legionnaires' outbreaks, but Nevada authorities have not yet determined the cause in this case.

"Legionella is a bacteria that lives in water and loves warm, wet environments," said Dr. Mary Nettleman, professor and head of the department of medicine at Michigan State University. "Unfortunately, people also like warm, wet environments, like hot tubs."

Last February, 200 partygoers at Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills, Calif., came down with flulike chills and high fevers. Four attending the DomainFest Global Conference there went on to develop a mild form of the disease, Pontiac fever.

Health authorities later suspected the mansion's whirlpool had been to blame for the spread of the bacteria.

Legionella transmission can occur through aerosols generated by air injected in the whirlpool, according to Dr. Amir Afkhami, assistant professor in the global health division at George Washington University School of Public Health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio