With the summer season in full swing, Legionella outbreaks are on the rise in NYC. Learn about why this outbreak is occurring and the most important details about Legionella and Legionnaires disease.
Recently, there has been an outbreak of Legionella infections in the Bronx in NYC, with nearly 20 cases being reported. While this disease is not immediately life-threatening nor majorly infectious, it is a dangerous disease that can turn deadly.
What is Legionella?
Legionella is a type of bacteria that is responsible for causing Legionnaires’ disease. It is contracted by breathing in mist or aerosols containing the bacteria, and can cause severe pneumonia-like symptoms. Outbreaks of Legionella bacteria are most common in places where there is an abundance of water or high-volume water usage, such as hospitals, nursing homes, hotels, and cruise ships.
Legionella bacteria can also be found in man-made water systems, such as air conditioning units and hot tubs. Although it is a harmful bacteria that risks serious disease, if caught early it can be treated successfully with antibiotics.
Legionella outbreaks seem to occur more often in the summer months. Usually, this is because water temperatures are warmer and provide a more ideal environment for the bacteria to grow. Legionella is known to spread via water droplets, mist or aerosols, all of which are more common in the summer when people are spending time outdoors where they’re breathing hot hair.
What Causes Legionella Outbreaks?
Water is the main culprit when it comes to Legionella outbreaks and spread. The bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, hence their preference for spreading through water-dependent systems like air conditioning units, hot tubs, and cooling towers. Some Legionella outbreaks have even been linked to poorly chlorinated, undertreated swimming pools and spas, as well as contaminated drinking water.
One of the problems with Legionella is that it can be difficult to detect. The first signs of an outbreak are usually a sudden increase in cases of pneumonia, which can be mistaken for other respiratory infections. By the time officials realize there’s a problem and start investigating, it may be too late to contain the outbreak.
There are a number of things you can do to better protect yourself from Legionella outbreaks, including:
- Avoiding contact with warm, stagnant water
- Staying well-hydrated
- Regularly cleaning and disinfecting all water-using appliances
- Keeping your immune system strong
How Water Treatment Helps To Prevent Legionella Outbreaks
Water treatment is critical to Legionella outbreak prevention because it not only prevents bacteria from developing, but also destroys the presence of any bacteria that may be currently occupying a water system. Proper water treatment can also help to ensure that water is safe to drink and use for other purposes.
By ensuring that water is properly treated and circulated, these systems can help to prevent the spread of the bacteria. Additionally, water treatment systems can also help to improve water quality overall, which can be beneficial for both human and environmental health.
These systems have an incredible amount of stress placed on them during the summer. This makes it essential for businesses who manage water to ensure that they are caring for it properly, as outbreaks can begin in a variety of different water sources.
How To Properly Maintain Water Treatment Systems During the Summer
In order to prevent the spread of Legionella and similar water-borne illnesses, it is important to properly maintain water treatment systems during the summer months. This is important both for community health and social responsibility – as well as saving your business money on the cost of operations. That’s because with proper maintenance, water systems are more energy efficient.
Here are a few key tips for keeping your water treatment system running smoothly all summer long:
Regularly flush and clean the system’s filters
Maintaining filters in water treatment is important to prevent Legionella outbreaks. The filters remove contaminants such as sediment, bacteria, and other impurities. If the filters are not maintained, it can lead to an increase in the number of Legionella cases. It is important to keep the filters clean and replace them on a regular basis.
Test the system’s pH and chlorine levels
Maintaining pH and chlorine levels can prevent an environment where Legionella can appear. Both pH and chlorine levels need to be properly balanced in order to kill the bacteria. If either level is too high or low, it can create an environment where Legionella can thrive.
Inspect the system for signs of corrosion or damage
If you have not maintained your system in a while, do a visual inspection to see if parts seem worn or damaged.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your water treatment system is running effectively and keeping our community safe from harmful bacteria.
Minimize the Chance of Further Legionella Spread With Professional Water Treatment Assistance
This latest Legionella outbreak has already claimed the life of at least one victim and hospitalized many others. This event reminds us of the importance of maintaining proper water treatment and systems maintenance for the NYC region. If your business needs professional assistance in improving your water treatment efficiency and safety without breaking your budget, reach out to the NYC water treatment experts at Tower Water by telephone at 212-518-6475.