Legionnaires’ Disease is On the Rise

Posted by on Aug 19, 2019 in Water Heater Repair San Diego

About 50 years ago Legionnaires’ disease was first diagnosed.  Since then, doctors have learned how to test and prevent it from occurring.  However, there has been an increase in the number of legionnaires’ disease cases recently.  We want to highlight where these cases have been happening, why they are possibly happening, and what can be done about it.

What is Legionnaires’ Disease

Here is an excellent explanation of the disease by Brian Labus as published in The Conversation, “Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory disease that occurs when the bacteria Legionella pneumophila infect the lungs. In order to become sick, you have to inhale microscopic droplets of water that are contaminated with the bacteria. Simply drinking contaminated water is not enough to make you sick, and you cannot catch the disease from someone else who is sick. It can take up to 10 days for symptoms to appear, and when they do, they initially look like a bad case of flu. The illness typically begins with a high fever, a cough, shortness of breath, muscle ache and headache. After a couple of days, these symptoms progress to pneumonia, a buildup of fluid in the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe.”

What Can Be Done to Prevent Legionnaires’ DiseaseLegionella pneumophila

These bacteria are found in fresh water very regularly and there is no good way of preventing that from happening.  However, the way that it can be prevented from being an issue in ones home is precisely what we specialize in as a San Diego plumbing company – regulating the temperature of ones hot water heater’s water.

The temperature that Legionella grow the best is between 77 and 108 degrees Fahrenheit.  With that in mind, it is important to have ones hot water heater’s thermostat set higher than that.

Since San Diego homeowners are looking to save money on their energy expenses, one place to look to conserve energy and costs is with heating water in the home.  It is tempting to lower the thermostat of the water heater, but  setting it too low can increase the risk of Legionella pneumophila.

According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “about 52,000 to 70,000 Americans suffer from Legionnaires’ disease each year, an incidence rate about 10 times higher than the number of reported cases, which do not capture everyone who contracts the disease. Legionnaires’ disease afflicts and kills more people in the U.S. than any other reported waterborne disease.”

They have also published an awesome Interactive Overview of Legionella in Water Systems too!

The Drexel University Drexel News Blog has an excellent article on this too.

Recent Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Can Be Found Here

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