Outbreak News Today
Controlling Legionnaires’ disease will require a universal, preventive-based approach by a bevy of stakeholders ranging from building owners to hospital administrators, from public health officials to policymakers, and from scientists to water system engineers.
In other words, it’s going to take a village to get a handle on the deadliest waterborne disease in the United States, participants heard recently at Legionella Conference 2018 in Baltimore, co-sponsored by NSF International and the National Science Foundation.
Incidence of Legionnaires’ disease – a severe lung illness caused by Legionella bacteria inhaled from water distribution and premise plumbing systems – has jumped more than 300 percent since 2000. Yet preventative efforts, conference speakers said, are being hampered by a lack of awareness and inconsistent planning, testing and management of building water systems. There are more than 5 million commercial buildings in the United States.
On 20 April 2018, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust was fined by Bristol Crown Court for failing to control the risk to patients from exposure to legionella bacteria in its water systems. After the death of one of its patients from Legionnaires’ disease, HSE started an investigation and found that existing control measures were ineffective. The Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,451.78. Full details of the case may be found at :
Cooling Tower Regulatory Intervention Programme
HM Principal Specialist Inspector of Health & Safety, Mr Duncan Smith will be giving an update on the findings of HSE’s latest cooling tower intervention programme to the Water Management Society Conference on 19 June 2018. Details of the conference and how to register may be found at:
Outbreak News Today
New York City health officials announced Wednesday that they are investigating three Legionnaires’ disease cases in three connected buildings at Co-op City in the Bronx. One person has died and to others in connecting buildings have been treated and released from the hospital.
Health officials urged residents of these buildings to seek treatment if they experience symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease. In addition, residents who are over 50 or have underlying medical conditions should avoid showering until the investigation is completed.
“We are in the process of undertaking an examining the water system, a process we take very seriously”, a top health officials noted.
Legionnaires’ disease is the cause of pneumonia where a non productive cough is typical. In addition, it is typified by headache, fever, body aches and occasionally abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Legionella bacteria are widely distributed, and normally grow best in warm water environments. They have been found in creeks and ponds, water taps (primarily hot water taps), hot water tanks, cooling towers and evaporative condensers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.
Evaporative cooling systems, such as cooling towers and evaporative condensers, are susceptible to colonisation by Legionella bacteria. Previous evidence has demonstrated that they can be responsible for sporadic outbreaks of infection, ranging in scale both in terms of numbers infected and severity. When such outbreaks occur, they frequently infect members of the public rather than workers and, in many cases, are a source of major public health concern.
Between 1 April 2013 and 31 August 2014, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspected 1,906 premises with evaporative cooling systems. While the majority of sites required no enforcement, material breaches were found at 625 sites (33% of those inspected), including 409 Improvement Notices (INs) and 12 Prohibition Notices (PNs) served at 229 sites (12.0% of those inspected).
A recently published HSE Research Report analyses the underlying causes of breaches of health and safety compliance. The main ones were :
- lack of training;
- failure to maintain the cleanliness of cooling towers and the water within them;
- absence of, or inadequate, risk assessments; and
- absence of, or insufficiently detailed, written control schemes.
Further analysis looked into the reasons why cooling towers were not cleaned properly.
HSE considers that these results provide a valuable resource which can be used to focus future strategies to improve dutyholder compliance. Research Report 1118 ‘Legionella control in evaporative cooling systems: underlying causes of breaches in health and safety compliance’ can be accessed at http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr1118.htm.
Food Safety News
Glutino, a division of GFA Brands Inc. based in Paramus, NJ, is voluntarily recalling Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers because the seasoning supplier, Kerry Ingredients, recalled the seasoning blend due to possible Salmonella contamination.
The recalled Glutino Rosemary and Olive Oil Snack Crackers were distributed nationally through retail and warehouse club stores. The product affected is sold in a 4.25-ounce and a 20-ounce opaque white box with a “Best By” date of Oct. 26, 2014, stamped on the top of the box.
No illnesses have been reported to date with consumption of this product.
Posted in Bacteria, Food Hygiene, Food Inspections, Food Micro Blog, Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Food Safety Alert, Food Testing, Hygiene, Legionella, Methods, Pathogen, Recall, Salmonella
Tagged Food Safety News Glutino, GFA Brands Inc., Kerry Ingredients, Olive Oil Snack Crackers, salmonella contamination, seasoning blend
Health officials at the Florida Department of Health in Broward County are advising parents, schools and daycare centers to take precautionary action to prevent the spread of Shigellosis. Shigellosis is a highly contagious form of diarrhea caused by Shigella bacteria. Shigella can spread through person to person contact and may cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Parents of children, or anyone with symptoms of Shigellosis should contact their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.
Food Posioning Blog
To date, one person has died and several others have been sickened in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease linked to Glenwood Nursing Home in Florence, Alabama. Legionnaires’ is a form of pneumonia caused by inhaling water mist containing Legionella bacteria.
All confirmed and suspected cases have been either residents or visitors to the nursing home. The one person who has died in the outbreak was a woman who visited the facility with two family members. She later developed respiratory symptoms and was hospitalized. Tests confirmed Legionnaires disease (Legionella pneumonia). The other family members were also sickened.
Posted in Food Hygiene, Food Illness, Food Inspections, Food Micro Blog, Food Microbiology, Food Poisoning, Food Safety, Food Testing, Foodborne Illness, Hand Washing, Legionella, Microbiology, Pathogen, Shigella
Tagged Florida Department of Health, Legionella pneumonia, Shigella, shigella bacteria, Shigellosis
The Legionella bacteria exist in a significant number of commercial compost products, a study conducted at the University of Strathclyde has found.
The research, the first substantial analysis of Legionella in UK composts, suggests that the bacteria are a common part of the microflora found within the composts tested.
It is widely recognised that Legionella bacteria are commonly present in the environment and the researchers have found that compost could be a potential source of infection.
Posted in Bacteria, Food Microbiology, Food Safety, Food Testing, Laboratory, Legionella, Microbiology, Pathogen, Research
Tagged Legionella, Legionella bacteria, University of Strathclyde