Legionnaires’ Disease on the Rise

Feb 15, 2019 | News

Recent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have prompted renewed concern about contaminated water cooling systems throughout New York City. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 7,500 individuals reportedly contracted this serious illness in 2017 – a more than fivefold increase since 2000. As a water treatment provider, the staff as Tower Water takes public health very seriously, and we aim to help educate both our clients and the general public about the risks that accompany poor water system management. Read on to discover some of the factors that may have contributed to the rise of Legionnaires’ disease in recent years.

Low Awareness

A lack of awareness about the Legionnaires’ disease and the other conditions that legionella bacteria can cause, like Pontiac fever, hurts communities’ abilities to fight against it. Although 7,500 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2017, even more likely went undiagnosed. Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia and is typically treated as such with antibiotics and hospitalization. Early diagnosis is crucial to recovery, as well – almost 1 in 10 cases is fatal. With proper education, communities can potentially nip outbreaks in the bud.

Poor Building Oversight

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vigilantly monitor facilities like nursing homes and hospitals to ensure that they remain current on cooling tower water treatments. Their regulatory oversight is intended to protect vulnerable patients from legionella and other harmful contaminants. Other buildings, however, like hotels, apartments, and office buildings often have little to no oversight past semi-routine Department of Health inspections. Inspections and tests for legionella bacteria are recommended every 90 days to ensure that water cooling systems have not been contaminated.

A More Vulnerable Population

According to the AARP, the number of people aged 65 over in the state of new york has increased by over 26 percent in the last 10 years – that’s over 647,000 individuals. The state’s general population only grew by 3 percent. Where legionella-related conditions are concerned, this is quite significant – individuals over the age of 50 are more vulnerable to these illnesses. Other factors like a history of smoking, compromised immune system function, and chronic lung disease also increase a person’s vulnerability to these conditions.

Thankfully, building owners and managers can take steps to prevent legionella-related illnesses from ever breaking out. For more information about how Tower Water treats water cooling systems in NYC and helps prevent contamination from sources like legionella, call us at (800) 699-9636 or contact us online today!

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