The coronavirus pandemic has caused numerous countries to force the closure of offices, schools gyms, and other buildings that are usually occupied. Unfortunately, lockdowns may cause another disease to become more prevalent.
This disease is called Legionnaires' disease, and according to health expert Anne Clayson, who is an associate professor in occupational hygiene and occupational health at the University of Manchester, lockdown measures are increasing the likelihood of the disease infecting portions of the population. Legionnaires' has similar symptoms to COVID-19, as both diseases cause an infected person to experience fever, dry cough, shortness of breath.
So how would one pick up Legionnaires'? Luckily, the disease isn't transmitted person-to-person, but instead, it is picked up by inhaling water droplets or mist carrying the Legionella pneumophila bacteria. Clayson explains, "Legionnaires' does not spread from person to person but causes large community outbreaks through contaminated airborne water droplets from sources including showerheads, taps, cooling towers, air-conditioning systems, spa pools, hot tubs and water fountains."
Clayson says that the lockdown measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 have greatly increased the risk of Legionnaires' outbreaks. Clayson said in an article on the Conversation, "All water systems are at risk of this foreseeable and preventable contamination, but dormant and decommissioned buildings are especially at risk. That's because intermittent use of buildings and equipment and the interruption of cleaning regimes increase the likelihood of water stagnation, which in turn increases the likelihood of a Legionella outbreak."
On top of that, since lockdown measures are easing throughout the Summer, there's also the added problem of L. pneumophila being more active in the warmth, further increasing chances of an outbreak. The US is currently reporting an 800% increase in Legionnaires' cases than previous records in the past 20 years. If you are interested in more information about this disease, check out this link here.
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Last updated: Jun 17, 2020 at 07:27 pm CDT
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