Cinnaminson, NJ, September 16th, 2011 -- This week, it was reported that ten cases of Legionnaires’ disease have occurred at two care facilities in Western Pennsylvania. To date, no fatalities have been reported, but three people have been hospitalized with pneumonia-like symptoms. So far eight cases have occurred at one facility and two at another according to the Allegheny County Health Department.
Legionnaires' disease is caused by a type of bacteria known as Legionella. Symptoms usually begin 2 to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria. Legionnaires' disease can have symptoms similar to other forms of pneumonia, making it hard to diagnose. Signs of the disease may include a high fever, chills and coughing. In addition, some people may also suffer from muscle aches and headaches. Chest x-rays are often needed to find the pneumonia caused by the bacteria, and other tests can be done on phlegm, blood and urine to identify the bacteria in the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Each year, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are hospitalized with Legionnaires' disease in the U.S. However, many infections are not diagnosed or reported, so this number may be higher.” There is a 5% to 30% of mortality rate for those infected.
“Health officials are reportedly treating the water supply at both facilities where the infections took place,” reported Diane Miskowski, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, a leading Legionella testing laboratory. “Care facilities often install systems that prevent hot water scalding. If the hot water system becomes contaminated with the bacteria, and the water temperature is not hot enough to kill the microbial pathogen, then the hot water system may act as a reservoir and incubator for the bacteria. Fortunately there are proactive testing methods that can quickly and accurately identify water systems that have the bacteria,” she continued.
A dedicated website with more information about Legionella can be found at www.LegionellaTesting.com. EMSL has also sponsored a public outreach video about Legionella that can be viewed at:
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal agencies.