What causes Legionellosis?
Many different types of bacteria can cause respiratory diseases. Ranging in seriousness from Streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) to much more deadly pathogens like Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Vibrio cholerae (cholera), bacterial infections of the respiratory tract present a major challenge for health care providers around the world. Tuberculosis alone is estimated to make up to 10 million people per year sick.
A serious bacterial infection that has gained a lot of notoriety lately in the media is Legionellosis – also known as Legionnaire’s Disease. The illness is commonly caused by inhaling water vapour containing the pathogen from sources like air conditioners, hot tubs or humidifiers. Legionellosis can present as either the flu-like Pontiac fever or the more serious and commonly–known Legionnaires’ disease, which can cause a life threatening form of pneumonia.
Here are some interesting facts about Legionellosis:
Where did the name Legionnaires’ disease come from? – The disease gained its name after an outbreak amoungst attendees at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
1976 – The year of the outbreak that caused researchers to go looking for a common cause to the unknown illness.
Why Pontiac fever? – Once the pathogen had been identified, doctors realized that a previous outbreak of a mysterious flu at the Pontiac, Michigan health department in 1968 had been caused by the same bacteria.
4% – The percentage that Legionnaires’ disease represents of all community-acquired pneumonias.
2 to 10 days – The typical incubation period for Legionnaires’ disease. In rare cases, it can take upwards of two weeks to develop.
2 to 48 hours – The typical incubation period for Pontiac fever.
35 Degrees Celsius – The optimal water temperature for Legionella bacteria to grow.
Is Legionnaires’ disease contagious? – No. Legionella is not transmitted person to person.
Is there a vaccine for Legionnaires’ disease? – No. Legionnaires’ disease requires treatment with antibiotics. Pontiac fever is typically treated with rest and hydration but not antibiotics.
At LuminUltra, we work with clients around the world who are regularly engaged in monitoring microbe levels in many types of water supplies. With our suite of DNA-based products and services, 2nd Generation ATP testing kits, LuminUltra Cloud software and customer support, we offer rapid and reliable solutions to these challenges. All over the world water safety is a critical issue. When it comes to serious pathogens like Legionella, if you aren’t aware of it you can’t control it.