Legionnaires' Disease Outbreak in California
Posted on 11th August 2022
One person has died and 11 are hospitalised after catching Legionnaires' disease linked to a cooling tower on the roof of a hotel in Napa Valley, California.
Three patients are still receiving treatment, with one on a ventilator. All individuals are between 58 and 80 years old and had underlying conditions putting them at higher risk of severe disease.
Oddly, none of the 12 individuals infected with the disease had stayed at the hotel, suggesting the investigation has still has not reached the foundation of the matter.
“Finding Legionella in one water sample is a crucial piece of the puzzle, but we must continue to investigate other cooling towers and water sources in the outbreak area, as it is common to search out over one source,” Dr Karen Relucio, Napa County Health Officer, said during a statement.
Legionnaires' disease is a serious lung infection that kills about 10 per cent of individuals it infects. Sufferers face flu-like symptoms including a cough, fever and headache, which in serious cases progress to pneumonia. Cases are rising within the U.S. in recent years, with this outbreak following another in the Bronx, New York.
The bacteria that triggers Legionnaires' disease is usually found in low numbers in waters including lakes and rivers, but when it gets into warm water — like that from air con units — it can start to multiply rapidly, making it a health risk.
Patients are commonly treated with a course of antibiotics, and most make a full recovery.
It is particularly serious among those with underlying conditions, however, the globe Health Organisation estimating up to 80 per cent of immune-compromised patients that become infected die from the disease.
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