Higher Than Usual Numbers of Legionella in 2013
Thirty-four Legionnaire cases have been reported in Ontario from June 1 to July 12. Higher than usual numbers are reported this time of year compared to the last few years and seem to be growing year over year. Legionellosis follows a seasonal trend in Ontario with most cases are diagnosed from July through to the end of October.
To prevent this in your home or light commercial businesses (such as restaurants, daycares, schools, hospitals, etc.), Ultraviolet water treatment is an extremely effective light-based (no added chemicals) deactivator against legionella in water. Legionella is highly chlorine-resistant, so choosing UV to protect yourself not only eliminates the need for extra harsh chemicals, but can be more effective at protecting your water.
If you think you’re immune – you’re not. Most people exposed to Legionella do not become sick, but between five and 30 per cent of cases are fatal. You can contract Legionella from hot tubs, and even misting equipment in grocery stores, air conditioners, humidifiers, potable water sources that are not properly treated, decorative fountains (See Chicago Marriott legionella case with three reported dead), city infrastructure (See 13 deaths in Quebec City) and even your shower. The hot water aspirates into steam, and as you breathe in the steam, you also breathe in the potentially-deadly Legionella bacterium directly into your lungs, where it wants to be.
Your location in Canada does not keep you safe either. A multi-group Canadian study of Legionella shows that Legionnaires' disease is just as common in Western as it is in Eastern Canada. However the Strain of L pneumophila serogroup 1 may be more common in Halifax than at the other sites studied.
There are no Canadian national statistics for Legionnaires disease or legionella, but in the US, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are infected with it, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is Legionnaire’s Disease?
Legionella can cause Legionnaire’s Disease, a type of pneumonia. Symptoms include high fever, chills, a cough, and sometimes muscle aches and headaches and can lead to death in some cases. The incubation period for Legionnaire’s disease is 2-10 days, most often 5-6 days. Person-to-person transmission of legionellosis had not been documented.
An FAQ by the CBC reports the following: The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety notes that the first sign of Legionnaires ‘disease is usually a headache accompanied by pain in the muscles and “a general feeling of unwellness.” These symptoms may be followed by:
Image of Legionella from Significance Magazine
- High fever (up to 40-40.5° C)
- Shaking chills
- Loss of appetite
- Dry coughing and chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Confusion and disorientation
- Memory loss
Interestingly, according to the Public Health Ontario, the demographic in 2012 for Legionellosis is:
- 91% are over the age of 50, with 62% of cases between the ages of 50 and 70
- The median age of cases is 63 years (range: 33 to 92 years).
- Male to female ratio is 2.2:1
Protect Your Family: VIQUA has two brands of UV water purification UVMAX and Sterilight. Find a dealer near you now!