Real Stories of Legionnaries’ Disease

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the September 2012 newsletter. 

Three people recently died after staying at a hotel in downtown Chicago (just two blocks from our office).  The culprit? Legionella bacteria in the lobby’s decorative fountain.  By reading real stories of Legionaires’ Disease, you will be more prepared to discover risky situations in all building types.
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Quiz time…. Airborne Contagious Diseases

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How many airborne contagious diseases exist?  No one knows the precise answer to that question, so let me give you an easier one.  How many airborne contagious diseases are recognized by the CDC?1 Let me give you your options:
a. 3
b. 30
c. 300
d. 3,000

What do you think? The answer is actually a!  Now for a follow-up question.

What are the three recognized airborne contagious diseases?
a. Legionnaires disease, pontiac fever, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis
b. Aspergillosis, valley fever, and histoplasmosis
c. Influenza, common cold, SARS
d. Chicken pox, tuberculosis, and measles
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  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions-Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings []

Superbugs vs. our Super Immune System

This morning I was reading the news and I came across two headlines that had conflicting messages:

  • “Extremely Resistant Superbug Is Spreading Internationally”
  • “Superbug on the decline”

The first article was highlighting the spread of an Enterobacteriaceae bacteria producing an antibiotic resistant enzyme called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1 (NDM-1).  The second article was referring to the decline in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Superbugs get their name because these bacteria have established resistance to common antibiotics.  Resistance most frequently happens as a result of overuse and abuse of antibiotics.  Those bacteria that have some natural resistance to antibiotics survive, those that are susceptible will die.  Remember that whole survival of the fittest thing?   Continue reading