Outbreak News Today
As of today, 6 cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been linked to the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta Hotel. Following news of the hotel’s shut down last week, the Georgia Department of Health announced its involvement in the outbreak investigation.
The hotel said in a public statement that it could be several weeks before it reopens as health officials investigate. Meanwhile, guests of the hotel were relocated to the Hilton not far from the property.
Georgia Department of Public Health states it doesn’t know if the guests contracted the disease while actually staying at the hotel. The health agency believes the water system of the hotel could be to blame. “They have a beautiful swimming pool and it’s shut down right now. They say they’re working on the filtration system. Maybe they haven’t made the linkage,” Georgia State Epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek said.
But the pool isn’t the only suspect. “Showerheads, hot tubs, perhaps even some outbreaks in the past have been associated with decorative fountains,” Georgia Department of Health epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek said.
Recent research looking at the growth of Legionella bacteria on stainless steel sinks and taps has shown that under certain conditions, the use of this popular metal can increase the health risks associated with the potentially life-threatening Legionnaires’ disease.
Stainless steel sinks are a popular choice in kitchens throughout the UK… however, research has indicated it may not be the wisest choice when considering the associated risks presented by the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria.
The same applies to stainless steel taps – also a popular choice for many understandable reasons.
Outbreak News Today
The New York City Health Department is testing the water at Manhattan Plaza, 400 West 43rd Street, after two building residents were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. According Department of Health Commissioner Barbot, “The New York City Health Department is working with building management to test the water in your building because two tenants have been reported sick with Legionnaires’ disease within the past 12 months.”
People can contract Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in water vapor or aspirating water that has been contaminated with legionella bacteria.
Outbreak News Today
The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating four cases of Legionnaires disease linked to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Three patients and an employee have been linked to the outbreak thus far.
Legionnaires’ disease is under-diagnosed because of inconsistent use of diagnostic tests and uncertainty about whom to test. We assessed the increase in case detection following large-scale introduction of routine PCR testing of respiratory specimens in New Zealand.
LegiNZ was a national surveillance study done over 1-year in which active case-finding was used to maximise the identification of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals. Respiratory specimens from patients of any age with pneumonia, who could provide an eligible lower respiratory specimen, admitted to one of 20 participating hospitals, covering a catchment area of 96% of New Zealand’s population, were routinely tested for legionella by PCR. Additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease in hospital were identified through mandatory notification.
Between May 21, 2015, and May 20, 2016, 5622 eligible specimens from 4862 patients were tested by PCR. From these, 197 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were detected. An additional 41 cases were identified from notification data, giving 238 cases requiring hospitalisation. The overall incidence of Legionnaires’ disease cases in hospital in the study area was 5·4 per 100 000 people per year, and Legionella longbeachae was the predominant cause, found in 150 (63%) of 238 cases.
The rate of notified disease during the study period was three-times the average over the preceding 3 years. Active case-finding through systematic PCR testing better clarified the regional epidemiology of Legionnaires’ disease and uncovered an otherwise hidden burden of disease. These data inform local Legionnaires’ disease testing strategies, allow targeted antibiotic therapy, and help identify outbreaks and effective prevention strategies. The same approach might have similar benefits if applied elsewhere in the world.
Outbreak News Today
New York City health officials are advising providers to test for Legionella in adults with pneumonia, particularly patients who are > 50 years or have lung disease, immune-suppression, or a history of smoking.
Legionnaires’ disease follows a seasonal pattern in New York City, with an increased number of cases
reported from June to October each year. NYC sees between 200 and 500 cases of Legionnaires’ disease each year.
While it remains a relatively rare infection, the rate of Legionnaires’ disease is increasing significantly in NYC. From 2007-2017, there was an 8.1% average increase in the rate of Legionnaires’ disease cases citywide each year.
The rate of Legionnaires’ disease increased significantly in all boroughs and demographic groups over this period.
Is climate change increasing cases of Legionnaires’ disease?
It’s a matter of record that our planet’s climate has changed almost continually throughout its history.
It would therefore be foolhardy to assume it would remain identical to the position it was in millions of years ago.
However, most of the climate changes seen in the past have been caused by natural events; that is, changes that have occurred due to factors outside of our control.
A good example would be the earth’s orbit making marginal changes, changes that have influenced the climate on our planet.
However, we have seen these gradual trends change in the last century or so.