Legionnaires Disease

B. Legionnaires’ Disease:

This summer NYC was severely impacted by the worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in a very long time.
1. What is Legionnaires’ disease? Describe this strain of bacterial pneumonia and its possible origins in human infection.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia first identified after an outbreak at an American Legion meeting in 1976. It spread chiefly by water droplets through air conditioning and similar systems. Legionnaires’ can really affect your lungs and really damage your respiration system.
Legionella gram-negative rods. Found in stagnant water and soil. Mostly found in poorly treated ventilation systems and soils. They are very difficult to culture because of their complex nutrient requirements. They survive as intracellular pathogens of either protozoon. They are most often found in stagnant water reservoirs like air conditioning cooling towers, whirlpool spas, humidifiers, faucets and shower heads, and are infectious when inhaled. Although this organism was named in the 70’s, retrospective studies showed cases since 1943.
2. How is Legionnaires’ transmitted? What precautions must be taken to prevent transmission?
Legionnaires’ can be transmitted many different ways.
Some examples are:
  * Inhaling
  * Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships/ swimming pools
  * Cooling towers in air conditioning systems/ water systems
  * Decorative fountains
  * Physical therapy equipment

Precautions can be taken in order to prevent transmutation of Legionnaires’ disease.
Some examples are:
  * Stay away from smoking of any kind
  * Keep air conditioners maintained following manufacturer’s instructions
  * Wear gloves and a class P2 dust mask when gardening
There are many useful techniques for destroying L. pneumophila in water reservoirs. Superheating the water to temperatures above 70º C will generally kill the bacteria. Exposure to UV light will damage the bacterial DNA. Copper-silver...