WA Police Stations Tested for Disease

Environmental health tests are being carried out at police stations in Karratha and Port Hedland after an officer contracted a strain of Legionnaires disease.

The West Australian Police Union believes continuing issues of mould at the Pilbara stations may be behind the Karratha officer’s illness, diagnosed last week.

Some officers had to be relocated because of mould problems at the two stations last year.

Police union president Russell Armstrong said he disagreed with a WA Police statement that the strain of the Karratha officer’s disease was likely associated with breathing in bacteria from garden soils.

A WA Police statement said health tests at the station’s were continuing and the force remained committed to taking any measures to make sure stations were safe for all employees.

Original article at: WAtoday

Contaminated Dental Surgery Equipment Source of Legionnaire’s Disease Death

This week’s issue of The Lancet describes a case report of an 82-year-old woman in Italy who died of Legionnaires disease after becoming infected with L pneumophila at her dentist. This case has prompted the authors – led by Dr Maria Luisa Ricci at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy, to call for various control measures at dental surgeries to prevent similar incidents.

Suffering with fever and respiratory distress, the woman who was conscious and responsive and had no underlying disease, was admitted in February, 2011, to the intensive care unit of the “G.B. Morgagni-Pierantoni” Hospital, Department of emergency Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Unit, Forlì, Italy.

Results from a chest radiography showed multiple areas of lung consolidation. A Legionella pneumophila urinary antigen test quickly diagnosed the woman with Legionnaires’ disease and she was immediately given oral antibiotics (ciprofloxacin) every 12 hours. However, she sadly died two days later after developing rapid and irreversible septic shock, prompting an investigation to find the source of L pneumophila.

The patient had been at home for the majority of the time during the 2 to 10 day incubation period, leaving only twice to attend dentist appointments.

The investigators took water samples from the dental practice’s tap, the tap and the high-speed turbine of the dental unit waterlines, as well as from the woman’s home (shower and taps) in order to investigate possible L pneumophila contamination. They found that samples from her home tested negative for L pneumophila, but samples from the dental practice tested positive. After laboratory experiments were conducted, results showed genomic matching between L pneumphila in the dental unit waterline and in the women’s respiratory secretion.

L pneumophila is a Gram-negative bacterium found in man-made water systems and is ubiquitous in natural water environments. The bacteria can infect individuals by inhalation or microaspiration of aerosolized water causing Pontiac fever (a flu-like disease) or Legionnaires’ disease (severe pneumonia), mostly affecting immune-compromised patients and the elderly.

Spas, fountains, air-conditioning systems, and hot-water systems, have been demonstrated to be leading sources of infection.

It has been widely documented that dental waterlines are substantially contaminated with Legionella and studies have also demonstrated that the blood of dentists and dental practice staff has a higher prevalence of antibodies to L pneumophila, which indicates that people working in a dental practice environment are potentially at risk. However, prior to this case, the researchers knew no other cases in which Legionnaires’ disease had been linked to this source of infection.

The authors explain:

“The case here shows that the disease can be acquired from a dental unit waterline during routine dental treatment. Aerosolized water from high-speed turbine instruments was most likely the source of the infection. Legionella contamination in dental unit waterlines must be minimized to prevent exposure of patients and staff to the bacterium.

We suggest several control measures: use of anti-stagnation and continuous-circulation water systems; use of sterile water instead of the main water supply in the dental unit waterline; application of discontinuous or continuous disinfecting treatment; daily flushing of all outlets and before each dental treatment; use of filters upstream of the instruments; and annual monitoring of the waterline. Further useful procedures to prevent legionellosis within dental surgeries can be obtained from [already available] dedicated guidelines.”

Original article at: medicalnewstoday.com

Family Blames Hospital for Man’s Death from Legionnaires’ Disease

DAYTON — Miami Valley Hospital is responsible for the death of a 94-year-old Kettering man from Legionnaires’ disease, his family claims in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit, which includes three other deaths, is the first filed concerning an outbreak of Legionella at the hospital in February 2011, when Charles O. Preston was a patient. Preston’s death certificate states he died March 23 from Legionella pneumonia.

Hospital officials said in March that 11 patients were infected.

It was the largest outbreak in Ohio since 2004, when 13 confirmed or probable cases were reported at a Cuyahoga County worksite. Miami Valley Hospital did report six cases in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The lawsuit was filed by attorney Dwight Brannon. The families of deceased patients Robert Austin of Springfield and Doris Day of Kettering are also represented. Though their death certificates don’t mention Legionella, medical records and an oral admission by a hospital attorney confirm that they had the infection, according to the complaint.

Additionally, Brannon is seeking information on a patient who died Feb. 21, who also had Legionnaires’ disease, according to the complaint.

A surviving patient, Janis Lowery, is also represented. She “has suffered a significant loss of lung function, other health hazards and emotional distress as a results of contracting Legionnaires’ disease,” the complaint states.

The Dayton Daily News has extensively covered the outbreak and subsequent developments since last March.

The lawsuit names multiple officials with the hospital and Premier Health Partners as defendants, as well as a number of firms involved in the construction of the hospital’s new wing, which opened in December 2010.

Hospital officials said they could not comment on pending litigation and referred calls to attorney Neil Freund, who said on Wednesday that he could not comment.

Preston was hospitalized from Feb. 9 through Feb. 15, 2011, for treatment of severe back pain. He returned to the hospital Feb. 25 with complaints of fever, malaise, fatigue and headache. That same day, he tested positive for the infection.

Preston transferred to Trinity Nursing Home on March 1, then back to the hospital March 15, then returned to the nursing home under the care of Hospice of Dayton, according to the complaint.

Brannon also lists “approximately 127 patients” as unknown plaintiffs, people who were admitted to, treated at or present in the new wing during its first three months of operation, as well as all “visitors, frequenters, invitees, licensees and workmen.”

The complaint claims that the construction was done by a “pre-fabricated method,” in which corridor modules, bathroom pods and patient room headwalls were assembled in leased warehouses two miles away from the hospital.

The defendants performed water pressure tests on those units, then let them sit in the warehouses for months, allowing the Legionella bacteria to develop, the complaint states.

At the time of the outbreak, hospital officials suspected the Legionella bacteria colonized during construction of the $135 million tower. It shut down the patient tower’s water system Feb. 22-25 for sterilization.

Original article at: Dayton Daily News

Lack of Legionnaire’s Alert Upsets Guests; Woman Files Suit Against Another Hotel

Man says group wasn’t told of risk; suit filed against different hotel

ALBANY — Guests to one area hotel claim they weren’t warned about the presence of a potentially dangerous bacterial contamination on a visit this week, while a woman who fell ill last year after attending a conference at a different establishment is filing a lawsuit seeking damages.

Ken Cooper, a state canteen operator from Buffalo, checked in to Best Western Sovereign on Tuesday, one day after state tests confirmed the hotel’s water system was contaminated with legionnella bacteria.

Nobody at the front desk told him, Cooper said.

Cooper, who is legally blind, said he went to his room and noticed a white paper taped to the bathroom mirror. He couldn’t read it because of his vision impairment and almost ignored it, but Cooper said he decided to ask a hotel worker to read it to him.

The worker informed him about the bacteria risk at the hotel and told him the water temperature had been raised to help eliminate the bacteria, he said.

“We were pretty appalled that nobody was forthcoming with the information at the front desk,” Cooper said. “I felt I was done wrong.”

Cooper, who runs the canteen at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, was attending a meeting at the hotel for State Committee of Blind Vendors, whose members operate the numerous convenience stores located in state buildings throughout New York. The group talked over the situation but decided to remain at the hotel for the two-day meeting, he said.

Mansoor Mustafa, general manager of Best Western Sovereign, 1228 Western Ave., said in a statement: “My understanding is that someone in the group who was not sight impaired informed members of the group about the issue at the property.”

He would not comment on whether the group was told before they checked in.

Six cases of Legionnaires’ disease between September and December have been linked to the Western Avenue hotel. All of the people have recovered and hotel is taking steps to eliminate the bacteria from its aging water system. The hotel will flush out its water system on Sunday, according to the Albany County Health Department.

Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia. The disease is transmitted on water droplets that can come from shower mist, steam from a hot tub and air conditioners. Legionnella, a naturally occurring bacteria that is present in many bodies of water, is harmless at lower levels.

County health officials said the hotel is under orders to inform hotel guests about the elevated bacteria at the hotel.

On Friday, an Albany lawyer announced that he is filing a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who nearly died after allegedly contracting Legionnaires’ disease at another area hotel.

Lori Clark, 48, of Nassau, an associate project manager for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, attended a three-day training session at the Comfort Inn in East Greenbush in early January 2011. Clark did not stay overnight, but ate several meals and used the hotel’s restrooms.

Clark’s lawyer, Michael Conway, of the Albany law firm Harris, Conway & Donovan, said the hotel never informed Clark that there were elevated levels of legionnella despite tests done a month earlier that showed abnormal results. Days after her visit to the hotel, Clark said she and several coworkers developed flu-like symptoms. Clark, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, became critically ill. She went into septic shock and organ failure. Clark eventually recovered and has returned to work, though she mostly works from home and only has 50 percent lung function.

“They were negligent in cleaning up their mess and they had a lack of concern for the public,” Clark said about the hotel.

Nicole Nykorchuk, general manager at the Comfort Inn, said the hotel has no comment.

Conway said the hotel shut down their hot tub for a couple days and cleaned it.

“They appeared to have done nothing to clean the air system,” he said. “And they said nothing to folks staying there or visiting for conferences.”

Original article at: timesunion.com