Legionaire’s Disease Makes a Comeback

Legionaire’s disease has been in the news recently and appears to be making a comeback of sorts.  Those old enough to remember will recall when a strange disease made its debut back in 1976 at an American  Legion convention held in Philadelphia.  Seems that several people attending the convention became ill and some died before the culprit was identified.  The culprit was a strain of bacteria that is water borne and thrives in cooling towers of large air conditioning systems.  With that said, there is no reason why Legionaire’s disease should be reappearing.  Since the initial outbreak, standards for water treatment in cooling towers have been revised, developed and implemented in order to minimize corrosion of the tower.  The standards also serve to as a guide on how to chemically treat water in order to prevent the formation of algae and mold as well as disease.  As a result, there is no excuse for building owners to allow their cooling towers to circulate untreated or poorly treated water that could potentially be a health hazard.  If left untreated and the Legionaire’s bacteria is allowed to grow, as the air and water that carries the bacteria enter a building’s fresh air inlet, it can circulate through the duct system.  Once the air and bacteria enter a space where people work, the bacteria can be inhaled and people infected.

About R.J. Hill, P.E.
R. J. Hill is the author of two blogs: R.J. Hill Consulting and the Descendants of James Alexander Hill. Mr. Hill is a registered professional (mechanical) engineer with 42 years of experience, 37 years in private practice. Please visit www.rjhill.com to see the kinds of forensic investigations that Mr. Hill performs.

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