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Legionnaires’ Outbreak Linked to Death in Alabama

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[ Science]

A death has now been linked to the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that was reported in northwest Alabama earlier this month, according to AP. The outbreak was determined to have originated at a Florence, Alabama nursing home, Glenwood Healthcare.

Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial infection that can cause deadly pneumonia. During infection, the bacterium invades macrophages and lung epithelial cells and replicates intracellularly. It does not spread from person to person. Instead, people get it from inhaling contaminated mist or vapor. Tainted shower water, air conditioning systems or whirlpool spas are among the ways bacteria get in the air.

Sources where temperatures allow the bacteria to thrive include hot-water tanks, cooling towers and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems, such as those commonly found in hotels and large office buildings, as well as…nursing homes. This is what causes the disease to spread so widely and quickly among visitors and residents.

13 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, so far, have been documented just this month. Ten were residents of the nursing home, and three were visitors. One visitor, an woman in her 80s, died on Thursday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A man from Milwaukee County died Aug. 16 at St. Luke’s possibly died of Legionnaires’ Disease.

These cases come on the heels of a reported outbreak in a Brisbane Australia’s Wesley hospital. According to the Courier-Mail, Austrailian Health Minister Lawrence Springborg on Thursday released a report into the legionnaires’ outbreak at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital which led to the death of a patient and sparked a statewide legionella testing regime.

The Australian outbreak also sparked in in-depth investigation, in which the hospital was cleared of negligence earlier this week, to the relief of hospital administrators.

Image via wikipedia

Legionnaires’ Outbreak Linked to Death in Alabama
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