Legionnaires Disease Statistics

Legionnaire’s Cases Increase In Md. County

posted 11.14.2011 by Steven Heisler

FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick County health officials said the number of cases of Legionnaire’s disease is higher than in the last five years, but it’s still relatively low.

Darlene Armacost, the program manager for communicable disease and preparedness at the Frederick County Health Department, said eight cases have been diagnosed this year.

Statewide, 131 cases have been reported so far this year.

Armacost said it’s not clear what caused the increase.

The bacterium Legionella grows in water and can be found in community living settings, air-conditioning systems or shower heads. Older people and those with weak immune systems are most at risk.

In the past week, the Howard County Health Department reported the death of an elderly man at an Ellicott City senior home.

Original article on: wbaltv.com

 

Ontario Sees More Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease This Year

posted 10.27.2011 by Steven Heisler

There have been a higher-than-normal number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Ontario this year, and health officials aren’t sure why.

The province has already seen 116 cases of the acute lung infection reported this year, compared to a total of 116 in 2010 and 69 in 2006, according to David Jansen, a spokesperson with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Legionnaires’ disease, which could be fatal in some cases, is spread through aerosolized water and soil, and not person-to-person contact.

The severity of the disease varies. Its commons symptoms are coughing, malaise, and fever.

In Ontario, an estimated 7,574 episodes are attributable to the bacterium causing the disease called legionella pneumophila each year.

Jansen said in an e-mail that health officials are not sure why the number of reported cases has gone up this year, “since there has been no common cause behind the cases in 2011.”

However, he notes that the high temperatures this past summer might have contributed to the rise in cases.

“This year’s long, hot summer may be a factor because warm water temperatures can contribute to the growth of legionella pneumophila,” he said.

Jensen recommends “proper maintenance of all mist-producing devices such as shower heads, hot tubs, whirlpools, and humidifiers” to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

Legionnaires’ disease is not easily diagnosed but can be treated with antibiotics in most cases.

Original article on The Epoch Times

 

US says Legionnaires cases triple over decade

posted 8.18.2011 by Steven Heisler

ATLANTA (AP) — Cases of Legionnaires’ disease have tripled in the last decade, U.S. health officials said Thursday, but the risk of dying from it is lower because of more effective treatment.

Legionnaires most often strikes the elderly and can cause deadly pneumonia. The germ spreads through mist or vapor from contaminated water or air conditioning systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 3,522 cases in 2009, the most since Legionnaires was first identified in 1976. There were only 1,110 cases in 2000. CDC officials think the increase may be partly because there are more old people.

To be sure, Legionnaires remains uncommon. Just 8 percent of its victims died in the last decade, compared to 20 percent in the 1980s and 1990s. But it still kills hundreds of Americans each year. Despite the low case count, experts believe the disease sickens and even hospitalizes thousands every year whose cases aren’t reported.

The increase in cases is worrisome, said study co-author Dr. Lee Hampton, a CDC epidemiologist. “We need to minimize the risk of people dying from this,” he said.

The disease got its name from an outbreak at a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion in 1976 when more than 200 people were sickened and 34 died. The outbreak drew intense media coverage, and months later health investigators fingered the bacterial cause. The germ apparently had spread through the convention hotel’s air-conditioning system.

Early signs of the disease can include high fever, chills and a cough. Fortunately, some of the drugs most commonly used against pneumonia are first-line treatments against Legionnaires.

Cases of the disease held relatively steady in the 1980s-90s, but rose since 2000.

The CDC relies on doctors, hospitals and state health departments to report cases when they occur, and agency officials believe the national case count is an underestimate.

Original article at: NECN.com

 

Could You Have Had an Undiagnosed Legionella Infection?

posted 2.21.2011 by Steven Heisler

Friday, February 18, 2011
San Diego, CA
ExpertClick

The water-borne infections that struck guests of the Playboy Mansion are more common than you think.

According to the Los Angeles County Health Department, about 200 people who attended a recent Playboy Mansion fundraiser were infected by Legionella bacteria. Four of them came down with Legionnaires’ disease, a sometimes deadly pneumonia; the rest had Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness that lasts about three days.

As many as 18,000 people in the United States contract Legionnaires’ disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5% to 30% of whom die from it within a few days or weeks.

About 90% of Legionnaires’ cases go undetected, in part because physicians treat the pneumonia but don’t test for Legionella bacteria.

“That’s a big problem,” says Matt Freije, author of Protect Yourself from Legionnaires’ Disease: The waterborne illness that continues to kill and harm. “If Legionella is not recognized as the cause of the infection, then no investigation is performed to pinpoint and fix the plumbing system, hot tub, or other water system that caused it, and that water system can continue to make people sick.”

Pontiac fever is even less likely than Legionnaires’ disease to be diagnosed because it is less severe. Most of us don’t even go to the doctor when we get the flu, let alone try to find out what caused it. Generally, Pontiac fever is recognized only when physicians in the same vicinity report several flu-like illnesses at the same time, attracting the attention of the health department, as with the Playboy event.

According to Freije, “Laws in much of Australia and Europe require building owners to maintain water systems to minimize Legionella bacteria but prevention is not mandated in the United States. I have received emails from many Legionnaires’ survivors who were outraged to find out they suffered from a disease that is preventable.”

Steve Sederstrom is one of the Legionnaires’ survivors who tells his story in Freije’s book. “My experience with Legionnaires’ disease was the worst thing I have ever been through. After five months I still have a major problem with short-term memory. I forget where I am going, or forget people’s names even though I have known them for years. I am afraid that I will never get my memory back.”