Increased Cruise Ship Traffic May Increase Risk of Legionnaire's Disease

For the past few years, a record number of cruise ships have set sail out of the Port of Baltimore, according to a recent article released by CBS affiliate WJZ. Baltimore offers an easy-access port for many passengers who are able to drive to Maryland instead of flying to a more remote location to begin their cruise. Although Baltimore natives are pleased with the increased tourism, including the rise in tourist revenue, most people don’t realize cruise ships can be a source of bacterial contamination, like Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaire’s disease is a lung infection caused by the Legionella bacteria, which causes symptoms like fever, chills, and a cough. The disease is similar to pneumonia and also to another bacterial infection called Pontiac Fever, which is a milder version of Legionnaire’s disease. The disease can kill up to 30 percent of those who are infected, particularly children, elderly people, and people with compromised immune systems. Legionella grows best in warm water that is constantly recycled through a large system. Since the water systems on cruise ships are self-contained and the water is heated in a number of places to provide hot water for showers, hot tubs, and more, cruise ships become[…..]

Jury Awards $4.5 Million to Legionnaire’s Disease Victims

On Thursday, November 18, a jury awarded $4.5 million to two road department employees from Jefferson County who contracted Legionnaire’s disease after staying in Oxford at the Wingate Inn during May 2008, reports The two men were limb truck operators and had been sent to assist with tornado damage cleanup. They were guests at the Wingate Inn for two weeks, and returned home on May 30. Both men felt very sick, and one was taken to a local hospital that night. He suffered respiratory failure and was forced to be on a ventilator for two weeks. The other was hospitalized three days later and was also put on a ventilator. It was determined that both workers had contracted Legionnaire’s disease, more than likely by using the Inn’s hot tub. A Jefferson County Department of Health official visited the Inn on June 5 and ordered the hot tub to be closed, returning to take samples of the water two days later. However, the hot tub had been chlorinated and vacuumed, which was in direct violation of the directions the health department official had specified. The official was also given a log of daily inspections that appeared to be fake. At[…..]

Legionnaire's Disease: What Is It?

Legionnaire’s disease is a type of lung infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People catch the disease by coming into contact with water infested with Legionella, the bacteria responsible for the disease. Although Legionella has existed in water supplies for centuries, the bacteria was only identified in 1976, when visitors at an American Legion convention all came down with the same symptoms caused by the bacteria. Legionnaire’s disease acts like pneumonia. People who are infected usually experience a high fever, chills, and a cough. Some patients have muscle aches and headaches as well. A chest X-ray can confirm whether or not you have pneumonia, while lab tests see whether the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease is present in your body. Legionnaire’s disease is serious: up to 30 percent of patients who have it suffer permanent injury or death. The disease is more likely to kill children and elderly patients but anyone can become a victim. Since the symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease usually don’t appear for at least two days after you catch the bacteria, figuring out where you got sick can be difficult. Legionella bacteria prefers warm water, like that in hot water tanks[…..]

Assisted Living Center Residents Develop Legionnaire's Disease

Two residents living at a Maryland assisted living center were hospitalized recently after contracting Legionella bacteria, according to a recent article in the Frederick News-Post. Legionella is the bacteria responsible for Legionnaire’s disease, a bacterial infection that resembles pneumonia. To protect the rest of the residents, the assisted living center shut off the water. The Frederick County Health Department is testing the assisted living center’s water supply for Legionella bacteria. Legionella is frequently found in water, and can enter the lungs if a person breathes in contaminated water mist or droplets. Until any problems with the water supply are fixed, the Health Department has allowed the assisted living center to keep using its flush toilets but has shut off the water to the sinks and showers. Instead, residents are drinking bottled water and using a portable shower with a separate water supply. They are also using disposable plates and eating utensils, since washing dishes in water contaminated with Legionella may bring the bacteria into contact with the residents. Legionnaire’s disease is particularly dangerous to elderly people, people who smoke, and people who have chronic lung diseases. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to develop and often resemble the flu.[…..]

Two Maryland Nursing Home Residents Positive for Legionella

The Associated Press has reported that two Frederick County assisted living facility residents have tested positive for legionella. Legionella is a bacteria known to cause Legionnaires Disease. Legionnaires attacks the respiratory system and can cause pneumonia, which can be fatal. The Frederick County Health Department has stated that the infected residents live at the Tranquility Assisted Living Center in Fredericktowne, Maryland. The Center has not been identified as of yet as the source of the bacteria. The two infected residents were treated at Frederick Memorial Hospital and released. One of the victims has returned to the facility. Since Legionnaires can only be contracted by inhaling contaminated water vapors, the facility is requiring residents to drink bottled water and has brought in portable showers. There have been water restrictions at Tranquility since September 2nd. Individuals most vulnerable to the disease include the elderly, people with compromised immune system and smokers. I will keep you updated as I learn more information.

Legionnaire Outbreak at Miami Hotel "Likely" Caused by Faulty Water System

According to the Sun-Sentinel, the Miami-Dade Health Department says in a recent report that a faulty water system is ‘likely’ responsible for a 2009 Legionnaire’s outbreak that killed one and sickened nine others at a Miami Hotel. The Department tested the water samples at the Epic, an upscale Biscayne Boulevard hotel, and the results linked the deadly bacteria to the hotel water system. “A causal relationship is likely because of the extent of the contamination found in the hotel,” the report states. But the report continues on to say that while it is ‘likely’ that the hotel is at fault, the results still do not conclusively prove that the hotel did anything wrong. I’m sure that the family of the deceased victim and the nine guests who became ill are in disbelief that the Health Department failed to lay the blame squarely on the hotel. How can that be? Well, even though the water samples taken from the hotel confirm that the Legionella bacteria was present, there is still a remote possibility that the ten victims acquired the disease from another source. It’s possible that all ten patronized a local restaurant or health club while staying at the hotel and[…..]

Legionnaire’s Disease May Be Living on Your Windshield

According to, the dirty water that comes off your windshield when the windshield wipers are on could be the source of 20 percent of Legionnaire’s disease cases. Britain’s Health Protection Agency found that the water is a breeding ground for Legionella bacterium, which can lead to pneumonia if it is breathed in. The Agency found that professional drivers are 5 times more likely to catch the disease than the general population. As part of a study, people in England and Wales who had Legionnaire’s disease in 2009 were questioned. Researchers found that people who frequently rode in a van, typically through industrial areas with windows open, were most at risk to contract the disease. The Agency then found that the bacterium which causes the disease was found on 20 percent of cars that did not have windshield wiper fluid, but no cars that did. The Agency is now encouraging all drivers to fill up with windshield wiper fluid, since it kills the bacteria. Legionnaire’s disease is rare. Most of its victims are males over age 50. The early symptoms are very similar to the flu. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients with Legionnaire’s disease die from it. It[…..]

Legionnaire's Disease Outbreak at Des Moines Hospital Results in Illness, Death

One patient died recently and another became sickened as a result of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. Tests done in the hospital found bacteria in a few spots in the hospital’s water system. Based on a report, the hospital installed special filters and flushed the system. Doctors are unsure whether the patients contracted the illness in the hospital or elsewhere. Legionnaire’s disease is a form of pneumonia caused by inhalation of a particular type of bacteria. Legionnaire’s disease can be treated with antibiotics but it is deadly to those with weakened immune systems or breathing problems. Both of the patients who contracted the disease had weakened immune systems. The hospital did not find any of the bacteria in the room of the patient who died, but bacteria was found in the room of the patient who became ill. State experts are currently attempting to discover the source of the outbreak and to contain it. Starting in 2004, the hospital had 7 cases of Legionnaire’s disease and two deaths among patients from the disease. The family of a former patient of the hospital who died of the disease sued the hospital. It[…..]

Threats of Legionnaire's Disease at NY Nursing Home Decline

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is often one of the most difficult decisions for a family to make, and doing so should not be taken lightly. It is important that family members do their research, visit the facility, meet employees, and give a specific nursing home a lot of thought before actually placing their loved one there. Another factor that many families may consider investigating before putting their loved one in a nursing home is researching any previous history of Legionella bacteria contaminating a facility’s water supply. A recent Times Herald-Record article reports that after a December 2009 incident in which two elderly residents of the Golden Hill nursing home in New York contracted Legionnaires Disease, a third round of water tests have come back negative for Legionella bacteria. However, as a precaution, the facility has yet to remove its restrictions on water-use in, disallowing nursing home residents from drinking the water, taking a bath, or showering. According to the news story, results from a fourth test for the bacteria will be returned next week. Such careful attention is indeed necessary, especially considering that one woman at the facility diagnosed with Legionnaires Disease died, although from a[…..]

Infected Faucet Gives Man Legionnaires Disease at OSU Medical Center

Facility owners have an obligation to provide a safe environment for all individuals who enter their buildings. This is never more important than in the case of hospitals and other care facilities where individuals are already susceptible to illness. Unfortunately, not all medical premises exercise the same precautionary measures in protecting their patients. According to a Columbus Dispatch article, the Ohio State University Medical Center may be proven to be one such facility. Reportedly, a man lost his life to Legionnaires Disease in April 2007 after contracting the disease from drinking water out of an infected faucet at the Ohio State University Medical Center. The man’s wife proceeded to sue the medical center for failing to warn her husband of the danger of Legionnaires Disease, and was recently awarded a settlement amount of $1.2 million. The wife’s case was strengthened by the fact that hospital staff was allegedly aware of the risks of illness being contracted. In fact, the hospital staff had agreed to avoid using water from the infected faucet and instead decided to only use bottled water for both drinking and making ice cubes. Failure to warn individuals on a premises of any kind of potential risk, be[…..]