Legionnaires Disease Outbreak

9 Possible Deaths and Dozens of Cases Reported

Dozens if Cases and Nine Deaths

After 32 reported cases and 9 possible deaths over the time frame of 17 days, city officials have finally began investigations on the possible cause of the patients respiratory infection. All cases are showing symptoms of high fever, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and headaches. If anyone else is showing these symptoms, please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Respiratory Infection Outbreak Cause

What Happened?!

After the collection of bacteria from multiple patients with the same respiratory symptoms, scientists have proven through urine samples, that the bacteria, Legionella, is the cause of sickness and death for many patients. Legionella is a small, aerobic waterborne bacterial organism that resides in either fresh or warm water containers such as hot tubs, cooling towers, large plumbing systems and even decorative water fountains.

In this case, a large cooling tower which had provided A/C to many different apartment buildings became the home to the Legionella bacteria where it soon thrived and infected dozens of people. Richard Becker, a scientist who helped discovered the cause of the respiratory infection in many patients stated, "Legionella, the bacteria that caused this respiratory infection in many patients, lives naturally in the environment. What we had to do was match the bacteria from the patients urine samples to the bacteria to its original home. Which, in this case, was the cooling towers, and it was a positive match."

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Should I Be Scared?

The legionnaires disease is not contagious, you have to be directly exposed to the bacteria in the air in order to obtain it in your lungs. The cooling tower has not only be thoroughly cleaned once, but has been cleaned twice and clearned to use starting up on Wednesday. To have been exposed or be at risk of the Legionnaires Disease, the person must have breathed in aerosolized water vapor containing the bacteria and it must "go down the wrong pipe." Signs and symptoms may become visible either 2 to 10 days or up to 2 weeks after exposure. Those who have a higher risk of becoming at risk to the infection include those who are middle aged and up, those who smoke, compromised health systems and already have or had chronic lung disease. Some of the complications include respiratory failure, septic shock, acute kidney failure and possible death.
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How Can I Not Get Sick?.... What About a Cure?

Being exposed and becoming infected can be prevented, but it is more than just keeping up a strong immune system. The most important thing to do to prevent yourself from becoming sick is to not smoke and avoid smoke; it increases your chances of developing the disease whether you've already been exposed or to prevent exposure. Other things to do to prevent exposure include strenuous cleaning and disinfecting water held containers. Other preventions after exposure include avoiding drinking, smoking, getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of fluids.

As for medical attention, there are 3 major classes of antibiotics for the patients diagnosed with the Legionnaires Disease. They include the fluoroquinolones; levofloxacin and moxifloxacin, the macrolides; erythromycin and azithromyocin and the last group is tetracyclines which is consists of doxycycline and glycylcyclines. The determination of which antibiotics is to be prescribed to the patients is mostly dependent on their clinical state, medicine capabilities, and the certainty of the diagnosis to the patient. In more severe cases that seem more resistant to a single antibiotic, a second drug, such as rifampin, may be added.

8th person dies in New York Legionnaires' disease outbreak