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Legionnaire’s Disease is a form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but affects more so those who are susceptible because of age, prior illness, and immunosuppression and smoking; and can be fatal.  Smoking, next to immunosuppression, is the leading factor in contracting Legionnaires Disease. It is caused by the bacterium Legionella Pneumophila.  Among the legionella family, Legionella pneumophila causes about 90% of all cases and outbreaks.  It is the most common building related illness and in many cases goes unreported, as it is hard to distinguish from other forms of pneumonia.



Hot water temperature, stagnant water, sediment and the presence of other microorganisms are important factors in the amplification of the presence of the bacteria and it can be found in air conditioning systems, cooling towers and water distribution systems, as well as fountains, hot and cold water taps, hot water tanks, nebulizers, whirlpools, potable water and humidifiers.  It is attributed to inhaling legionella, either from droplets of water or droplet nuclei (what’s left after evaporation). 

Mild cases may recover without antibiotic treatment but in large outbreaks, the mortality rate varies between 10-25%.  Damage to the immune system from Legionnaires Disease consists of disorientation, depression, hallucinations, delirium and/or retrograde amnesia. 
Symptoms are similar to pneumonia following an incubation period of 2-10 days and can only be diagnosed properly by a lab test to detect the presence of the bacteria Legionella pneumophila.
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • Upset stomach
  • Malfunction of the central nervous system

To minimize the risk of being exposed to the Legionella pneumophila bacteria, some important steps should be taken:

  • Promptly detecting and permanently repairing all areas of water collection, including managing draining pans under cooling coils
  • Check for any area of your home that could be a potential area of infection and eliminate the problem of any stagnant water as quickly as possible
  • Frequent changing of Furnace and Air Cleaner Filters help to keep biological contaminants out of the air in your home
  • Cleanliness around your home goes a long way to keep any biological agent at bay
  • Maintain humidity to 30-50%
  • Keep your hot tubs and whirlpool baths treated with the proper amount of chemicals
  • To significantly reduce your risk of contracting this disease, don’t smoke. 
If you are concerned about Legionnaires Disease in your home or have had water damage longer than 48 hours, call Home Heroes today to help assess the situation, test the air and provide a solution to keep your home and your family healthy.
 
 
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