Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Quebec City

MONTREAL — The regional director of the public health department was categoric in her condemnation in the wake of last summer’s explosion of Legionnaires’ disease in Quebec City.

“There were insufficient practices in place,” said François Desbiens, of the epidemic that saw 181 people fall sick and 13 die of the bacteria found in the cooling towers of buildings in the provincial capital.

The provincial health department got involved in examining the cause of the deadly respiratory disease that comes from bacteria that thrive in aquatic environments.

A report of their findings was made public on Thursday.

Cooling towers, containing water used in building air-conditioning systems, were found to be the source of the bacteria in Quebec City.

The bacteria was found in 24 per cent of the buildings visited by health inspectors after the outbreak was first declared.

In the report, Desbiens calls for more stringent maintenance protocols and cleaning and disinfecting procedures, as well as better official surveillance of these practices.

Original article at: montrealgazette.com

Legionnaire’s Disease Kills 1, 2 More Sickened

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) – The health department says one person has died and two others were sickened by Legionnaire’s disease at a mobile home park near Tampa.

The Hillsborough County Health Department says the death occurred Saturday. All three people were residents of a 55-and-older mobile home park in Plant City, a rural town east of Tampa. The health department didn’t release any more information about them except to say they were not relatives and did not live together.

The respiratory disease is spread through water and a water vapor. As a precaution, two swimming pools and two hot tubs at the mobile home complex were closed.

People most at risk for getting the disease are 65 and older, as well as smokers and those who have chronic lung disease.

Original article at WikiNews

Athens County has two cases of Legionnaire’s disease

September 20, 2011 – An Athens County health official on Tuesday confirmed that within the last week, two cases of Legionnaire’s disease have been diagnosed at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens.

One case reportedly involves a graduate student at Ohio University; the other, an out-of-county resident who apparently just came to O’Bleness as the nearest available hospital.

“We’re looking at this very closely,” said Chuck Hammer, administrator of the Athens City-County Health Department. “We’ve been aware of this since late last week.”

OU spokeswoman Jennifer Krisch confirmed Tuesday morning that “Yes, we have a graduate student with a confirmed case of Legionnaire’s disease.” She referred questions about the case to the Health Department.

In an internal OU e-mail obtained by The Athens NEWS, Steven Ross, director of the university’s School of Film, advised people in his department Sunday that a graduate student in that department had been taken ill the previous week and diagnosed with Legionnaire’s Disease at O’Bleness.

According to the email message, the graduate student, who is from New York, was transferred to a Columbus hospital.

Calls to the Columbus hospital seeking information on the student’s condition were not returned by the time this story was posted Tuesday.

Legionnaire’s disease is an acute respiratory infection caused by the Legionella bacteria.

According to Hammer of the Health Department, it is typically spread not from person to person, but though an infected shared water supply such as a hot tub, sprinkler system or air conditioner.

Hammer stressed that the disease poses a threat mainly to vulnerable populations such as the elderly or people with compromised immune systems.

“Generally speaking, Legionnaire’s disease can be quite mild,” he said.

Hammer said that state health officials have been informed of the two recent Athens County cases, and that investigators are working to try to find out if the two people diagnosed with the disease have any overlapping recent history, to suggest where they might have picked up the bacterium.

“There’s a little detective work that goes on,” he explained. Just because the two cases were both diagnosed in Athens County, he said, does not necessarily mean the source of the infection is here.

“There are a couple of cases of Legionella (locally), but we don’t know where they originated,” he said.

Hammer said he has heard from state health officials that there has been a “small uptick” in reports of Legionnaire’s disease across Ohio recently.

Ohio Department of Health spokesperson Tessie Pollock confirmed that a number of cases of Legionnaire’s disease are currently under investigation statewide, but added that these do not appear to be connected.

“So far, there is no indication of there being an outbreak,” Pollock said.

Original article from Athens News

Confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease at St. Ann’s Community in Rochester, NY

It’s a bacterial disease that could cause pneumonia and the water at St. Ann’s in Rochester along with one of their residents have tested positive for it.

It’s called Legionnaires’ disease and it’s the first time in more than 25 years that the home has dealt with it.

News 10NBC is told that the one individual who was infected with Legionnaires has been treated and is fully recovered. Now the New York State Health Department is working closely with St. Ann’s home to develop a plan for making sure their water is safe again.

In the meantime, the home is only using bottled water for drinking and hygiene. The health department has supplied them with soap for bathing that doesn’t require water.

Medical Director Dr. Diane Kane said that per the recommendation of the health department, they are installing filters on all shower heads in the building to keep the bacteria out.

Dr. Kane can not say exactly when the resident learned he was infected with the disease but it is standard procedure with the health department that as soon as someone is infected, the water is tested.

St. Ann’s water supply tested positive for Legionnaires last Thursday.

The bacteria is actually very common and only causes problems in people with compromised immune systems but with the average age at St. Ann’s at 89, the at risk category includes almost everyone.

Dr. Kane said, “Just the word is scary to people but I think what we have to do is take a step back and put it in perspective. And by that I mean again it’s a ubiquitous organism quite honestly if you go out there and you test water and you test soil, guess what? You’re probably gonna find it and it’s not until someone comes down with Legionnaires’ disease that you go looking for it.”

Legionnaires is not a contagious disease. It is only contracted through direct exposure to the infected water.

Officials from St. Ann’s say that because the man who was infected frequently leaves the home on weekends to visit family and friends, they don’t know whether he was infected at St. Ann’s or somewhere else.

Original article at: WHEC.com

US says Legionnaires cases triple over decade

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

Elevated levels of Legionella found at Parma General ICU

Parma — A routine water test in the intensive care unit at Parma Community General Hospital on Tuesday revealed elevated levels of Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s disease.

As of Friday afternoon, no cases of Legionnaire’s had been reported.

Hospital officials confirmed unusually high levels of the bacteria were found in faucet water from the ICU, although other areas of the hospital remained unaffected. Legionella is naturally occurring in water, but certain conditions, such as warm, stagnant water, can cause flare-ups.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, hospital buildings are at particular risk because of their complex water systems and the fact that many patients have illnesses that increase their risk for infection.

Legionnaire’s disease is contracted by inhaling contaminated water vapor. Common symptoms include a high fever, chills and a cough. Signs of illness usually begin two to 14 days after exposure.

Infection can lead to a form of pneumonia and even death in 5 percent to 30 percent of cases, according to the CDC.

Smokers, the elderly and people with lowered immune systems are more at risk of developing symptoms. Most patients can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Since the discovery of the high bacteria levels, the hospital has relocated two ICU patients who were considered vulnerable and released a third. Parma will continue selected admissions to the ICU, said hospital marketing director Mark White. Patients and staff have been alerted.

White said that the hospital has already started eliminating the Legionella colonies by replacing the ICU faucets and flushing out the pipes with hot water.

“We’re erring on the side of caution,” White said. “There hasn’t been any outbreak. It’s a manageable situation.”

This is not the first time Legionella has been an issue at Parma General. Since a single case of Legionnaire’s disease occurred in 2002, the hospital has been voluntarily testing its water supply every quarter. White said there have been other instances of positive Legionella levels since testing began but no additional cases of Legionnaire’s.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said that hospital officials had alerted his staff to the current situation. He applauded them for their continued testing regimen and reporting.

“It’s a very good practice to prevent cases among patients,” Allan said.

Last year, 33 cases of Legionnaire’s were reported in Cuyahoga County. There have been 22 cases so far this year.

Original article at: Cleveland.com

Agency closes building after Legionnaire’s case

ALBANY — A state facility in Broome County used for programs for the disabled has been closed after a state worker came down with Legionnaire’s Disease, officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities closed its Tracy Creek Center in Vestal after an administrative employee came down with the illness last month; officials said the person did not come in contact with clients who attended day programs there.

Problems with the site have not been positively implicated in the illness. Civil Service Employees Association spokesman Stephen Madarasz noted the building had developed mold problems after trouble with the roof led to water in the ventilation system.

The union alerted OPWDD, which called in the Department of Labor to investigate, leading to the closure.

Madarasz said the administration moved quickly to address the problem.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the building could be reopened.

Original article at TimesUnion.com

Playboy Mansion Illness; Hot Tub Bacteria caused Legionnaires Disease

The Los Angeles County Health Officials have established that the bacteria which caused scores of people to suffer from Legionnaires Disease were traced to a hot tub at the Playboy Mansion where they attended a fundraiser in February.

The Health Officials from Los Angeles County presented the evidence at an annual conference at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. This legionella bacterium not only causes Legionnaires Disease but also Pontiac Fever, a milder illness that has fever and headache as its symptoms.

The people who attended the fundraiser at Playboy Mansion reported respiratory illness after the famous Domainfest conference which was held in February this year.

The Health Officials contacted 439 people and their finding reveal that out of these 439 people 123 people suffered fever and some other related symptoms while 69 of them fell ill on the same day.

We just hope that this finding is not going to affect the upcoming marriage of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner who is ready to tie the knot with his third wife this summer.

From 05 News

Dubai Hotel Faces $16.7 Million Legionnaires’ Disease Lawsuit

Travel Daily News reports that the suit claims that Thomas Boyle, from Britain, and Elodie Nogues, from France, contracted Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the Dubai Westin Mina Seyahi in January and February of 2009. The health of the pair deteriorated rapidly and resulted in hospital stays. A third guest, BBC radio commentator Bill Frindall, 69, passed away as a result of contracting the disease.

The legionella bacterion that causes Legionnaires’ (a form of pneumonia) can be found in natural water sources such as lakes and rivers, but also on occasion in man-made water systems such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and also in air-conditioning units. People become infected by inhaling water droplets containing the bacterium. Since the disease was first identified in 1976 – at a meeting of retired US military personnel, or legionnaires – outbreaks have been linked to hotels, cruise ships, and other types of holiday accommodation. About 5-15% of cases prove fatal, with elderly people most at risk.

Boyle arrived at the Westin with his family on December, 2008, and left several days later, on January 6, 2009. On his return to the UK, the suit says he developed flu-like symptoms and his health deteriorated rapidly. He then spent a fortnight in a UK hospital having been diagnosed with the disease.

Nogues started to feel weak and feverish two days after checking into the hotel with her son and a friend on February 14. With her health deteriorating, she returned to France on February 21 where she was also diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

Frindall, a highly-regarded cricket scorer and broadcaster, returned to the UK on 20 January from a tour to Dubai with his charity cricket team, the Lord’s Taverners. His condition quickly deteriorated and he was not able to recover after one of his lungs collapsed. He passed away in Swindon Hospital on January 30. The team said no other members were showing symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease.

Following these incidents, Amalie Craig, a spokeswoman for Starwood said in a written statement that the company was “continuing to conduct a thorough investigation with independent assessors, including leading European and US based experts, to investigate whether legionella is present in the hotel.” The investigation was being conducted in co-operation with Dubai Municipality and Dubai Health Authorities.

A later statement by Starwood said that “no evidence of legionella has been found to date at the hotel based on initial testing by an independent accredited laboratory and the hotel’s systematic and regular audits,” and continued “although recent monitoring and testing has not revealed the presence of legionella at the property, hotel management is continuing to monitor the situation and has begun contacting guests and associates to advise them of the circumstances. The ongoing monitoring is intended to ensure that the hotel satisfies all requirements regarding the health, safety and welfare of hotel guests and associates.”

According to the lawsuit, both plaintiffs were unable to return to their normal lives having suffered from depression and anxiety. The New York Supreme Court is deciding whether the case can go to trial, a decision that could take up to a year to make.

Hotel in Dubai Faces $16.7 Million Lawsuit after Guests Contract Legionnaires’ Disease

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is facing a $16.7 million lawsuit in the U.S. after two guests staying at the Westin Mina Seyahi in Dubai claim they caught Legionnaires’ disease at the property, reports Arabian Business.

The suit claims that Thomas Boyle, from Britain, and Elodie Nogues, from France, contracted the disease after staying at the Westin in January and February of 2009. It claims the health of the pair deteriorated rapidly and resulted in hospital stays. The disease is a form of pneumonia spread through airborne water droplets, which thrives in water and air-conditioning systems.

Boyle arrived at the Westin with his family in late December 2008, and left several days later, in January 2009. On his return to the UK, the suit says he developed flu-like symptoms and his health deteriorated rapidly. He then spent a fortnight in a UK hospital having been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

The paper reported that Nogues started to feel weak and feverish two days after checking into the hotel with her son and a friend on February 14. With her health deteriorating, she returned to France on February 21 where she was also diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease.

According to the lawsuit, both plaintiffs were unable to return to their normal lives having suffered from depression and anxiety. The New York Supreme Court is deciding whether the case can go to trial, a decision that could take up to a year to make.