Personal Injury

New Regulations Fail To Mitigate Legionnaires Disease Outbreaks in New York

Legionella bacteria CDC image New Regulations Fail To Mitigate Legionnaires Disease Outbreaks in New YorkNew regulations passed in after hundreds of people became infected with Legionnaires disease in 2015 failed to reduce the number of infections reported statewide since then, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate.

According to Politico, the CDC data shows that there were 718 cases of Legionnaires disease reported in 2016, a year after the state adopted stricter regulations requiring the registration, inspection, and testing of cooling towers and potable water systems for Legionella in hospitals, nursing homes, and other residential health care facilities.

In 2016, an outbreak of Legionnaires disease in the Bronx killed 16 people and sickened 138 others

The number of cases in 2016 represents a drop of 17.5 percent from 205, when 870 cases were reported – not enough to show a statistical advantage. Also, the number of cases in 2016 was higher than in 2014, when 647 cases were reported in New York.

The New York Department of Health said that the current regulations are “focused on the sources of Legionella which pose the highest risk to New York residents.” But the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires Disease, a group that includes representatives from the cooling industry, say the regulations are too inadequate to prevent the formation of Legionella.

The group says that municipal water supplies must be tested more vigorously and state’s aging water infrastructure needs to be upgraded before any significant improvements are made.

Legionella bacteria thrive in many potable water sources, cooling towers, and warm environments such as water fountains and hot tubs. While people may swallow the bacteria every day, it only becomes a threat when it is breathed into the lungs via mist or water vapor from infected sources.

Healthy people generally avoid becoming sickened by Legionella bacteria, but people with chronic lung disease, weakened immune systems, smokers, and people older than 50 can develop Legionnaires Disease, a form of .

“We’ve been recommending residual chlorine requirements at all points of [water] distribution,” Brad Considine, director of strategic planning for the Alliance to prevent Legionnaires Disease, told Politico. “Water can leave the treatment center and be fine and it can pick [legionella] up again later.”

In 2016, an outbreak of Legionnaires disease in the Bronx killed 16 people and sickened 138 others

Sources:
Politico
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