The Threat of Legionnaires’ Outbreak in Schools.

Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal disease caused by a bacteria known as “Legionella pneumophila” It was discovered as recently as 1976 when a group of American Legionnaires, which are ex-servicemen, contracted severe cases of what appeared to be pneumonia when they attended a conference out of the 221 who developed symptoms, 34 died. Out of doors this bacteria survives in soil and water but rarely cause infections but indoors, Legionella bacteria can multiply in all kinds of water systems. The symptoms are very much like a severe case of pneumonia. It primarily affects the lungs but it can affect other areas of the body. Although it is possible to contract the disease from home plumbing systems, outbreaks are far more likely to occur in a large building with a complex plumbing and air conditioning system. This could be an office building, a factory, a distillery, such as the one in Edinburgh that had a pretty serious outbreak in 2012, a hospital or even a school. The threat of a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in schools is quite rare but it has been known to happen. In 2012, three schools in the Chicago suburb of Batavia were found to have the Legionella bacteria but fortunately no cases of infection were reported. The prevention of Legionnaire’s disease is simple; meticulous cleaning and disinfection of water systems. The breakdown of such simple safety precautions are what cause outbreaks such as the Edinburgh Distillery and the potential disaster that could have happened at the schools in Batavia. If a school has a swimming pool, particularly a heated, indoors one, the risk of the Legionella bacteria growing is severe. These pools must always be maintained and cleaned. This article was provided by JLA .