Until recently, only a few people knew about Legionnaires’ Disease. In fact, some people still do not know about the disease. While it may be hard to contract under normal circumstances, every HVAC contractor should know about it. Every year, over 18,000 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease are reported. Unfortunately, 3 out of every 10 people who contract the disease die hence the need for preventive measures to be taken.
Legionnaires’ Disease Explained
The disease got its name from an outbreak in Philadelphia during the American Legion Convention in the year 1976. A total of 34 lives were lost to the disease out of 221 cases reported. The HVAC system of the hotel where the convention was held was blamed for the serious outbreak.
Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by a bacterium known as Legionella pneumophila. The bacterium lives in stagnant water and requires a warm temperature to thrive. Cooling towers in large-scale HVAC systems provide these microorganisms with a perfect environment in which to thrive. When the bacterium gets into the air supply system of an establishment, anyone who breathes in the contaminated moist air can get infected. Legionnaires’ Disease has the following symptoms: high fever, coughing, aches and chills among others. It is basically a type of pneumonia which is related to a milder form of Pontiac fever.
While cooling towers of large HVAC systems are largely to blame for Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks, hot tubs, indoor fountains and shower heads can also form a conducive habitat for the legionella bacterium.
Prevention and Treatment
Legionnaires’ Disease can be prevented with simple HVAC maintenance procedures. For instance, qualified HVAC contractors should be hired to perform maintenance checks to ensure that the entire cooling and heating system of a building is safe. When building a new structure, hiring certified professionals to design, install and maintain the HVAC system will help to keep legionella at bay.
Legionnaires’ Disease is normally treated using a dose of antibiotics. However, treatment is not always successful: 30% of cases may be fatal. Therefore prevention comes highly recommended. Follow us for more articles that your HVAC systems running comfortable and efficiently.