Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is developed by sufferers following inhalation of the responsible bacteria contained within water mist. This bacteria, commonly known as LDB (Legionnaires’ Disease Bacteria), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia at a Philadelphia hotel in 1976.
The origin of the name Legionnaires’ disease
At the time of the outbreak, a convention hosted by the Pennsylvania American Legion meant more than 200 legionnaires and other convention visitors were affected by legionella bacteria. Some of these individuals died and, upon examining their lung tissue, the bacteria was detected, identified as the cause of the illness and subsequently named Legionella pneumophila. This ultimately led to the common name of Legionnaires’ disease.
The Legionellosis family of diseases
The legionella bacterium is actually responsible for, or at least related to, several illnesses similar to pneumonia. In addition to Legionnaire’s disease, which is the most virulent and potentially fatal strain, legionella bacteria are also believed to cause Pontiac and Lochgoilhead fever. Symptoms of these infections may include:
- Muscle pains.
- Fever/ high temperature.
On occasion, sufferers may also experience bouts of diarrhoea.
Causes of Legionalla bacteria infections
The bacterium is naturally present within the waters of ponds, lakes and streams. As a rule, concentrations of the bacterium within these water bodies are, however, minimal, leaving only a tiny chance of becoming infected with legionellosis. Contamination of water systems like water heaters, spa pools, cooling towers or any body of stagnant, warm water, for example, substantially increases the risk. This is due to the fact that the conditions and temperatures within these systems encourage the bacteria’s growth, rapidly increasing concentrations to unacceptable levels.
Legionella pneumophila and the law
Spa operators, hotel owners, employers and others responsible for the health and safety of visiting members of the public or employees are required by law to ensure that the risk of infections by LDB is kept at a minimum. This may include implementation of safety procedures/precautions, monitoring the levels of bacteria present and, if necessary, taking relevant remedial actions to reduce those levels.
Personal injury compensation
Individuals infected with this disease at work, in a hotel or at a spa, for example, may be able to claim for public liability, work or travel injury compensation. Calling Accident Advice Helpline and discussing your situation with one of their advisers will quickly reveal how to claim for which type of compensation. You can call them on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: February 12, 2014
Author: David Brown