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  Legionella Pneumophilia Q & A   


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Q & A

LEGIONNAIRE'S DISEASE

Q-

Shall everyone who breathes in Legionella bacilli be infected by Legionnaire’s disease?

A-

No.  Most people have resistance to this disease.  In general, only 5% would be infected.

Q-

Is Legionnaire’s disease easy to be diagnosed?

A-

No.  It’s not easy to distinguish pneumonia caused by Legionella Pneumophilia from similar bacilli; however, it is still possible by analyzing phlegm, blood, or urine.

Q-

 Is there a cure for Legionnaire’s disease?

A-

Ilotycin is the best antibiotic for treatment.  Early detection speeds up the recovery process.

Q-

Should healthy people be afraid of the Legionnaire’s disease?

A-

Yes.  Healthy people can be infected if exposed to high concentrations of bacteria.                         

Q-

Will Legionella bacilli cause other kinds of disease?

A-

Yes. Other than the Legionnaire’s disease, it could cause Pontiac fever that is similar to the normal flu.             

Q-

What is the difference between Legionnaire’s disease and Pontiac fever?

A-

Pontiac fever does not require an antibiotic and usually goes away in 2-5 days.  Legionnaire’s is more serious and can lead to death.

Q-

Can Legionnaire’s disease be prevented?

A-

Yes.  The best way is to avoid water under a condition suitable for bacteria growth.  Cooling towers should be frequently cleaned and maintained to prevent bacteria growth.  In a hot water supply system, the water temperature should be maintained at least 60°C  (140°) and pipeline temperature should be maintained at least 50°C (122°).  Pipelines should also be flushed frequently to prevent standing water inside.

Q-

If I were the boss, should I test the water in working areas for Legionella Bacilli?

A-

Yes.  Sample testing should be done frequently if water towers or systems are in a close environment to workers.  Recent reports reveal that it is impossible to retard growth of Legionella Bacilli by use of normal chemical antimicrobial.  As a matter of fact, this kind of antimicrobial could retard growth of other bacteria, but facilitate growth of Legionella due to less competition.

Q-

How is the efficacy for killing bacteria by use of chloride?

A-

In the past, to use chloride for sterilization was quite popular and believed to be effective. Chloride was added and checked in a timely manner to maintain concentrations up to 10ppm with a constant drainage and make up of water loss.  It is also possible to equip with a metering device on the hot water supply lines; however, chloride could have corrosion effect on metal pipelines, shortening its life span.  Therefore, frequent pH testing is essential.

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