Friday, August 14, 2015

Legionairres Disease Outbreak in NYC...

A sign hangs outside Lincoln Medical Center where a cooling tower has been tested and disinfected following a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx region, New York August 7, 2015.

The New York City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to pass legislation that mandates strict regulations of cooling towers, a move that comes in response to the current outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx. The Council voted 42-0 in favor of new regulations that will require all cooling towers be registered, tested and then disinfected if they’re found to contain Legionellabacteria. Cooling towers are used to regulate temperatures indoors and are part of ventilation systems in many modern residential buildings. Failure to comply with the law could cost a property owner as much as $25,000 in fines and a year in jail.
The current outbreak of the potentially fatal bacterial pneumonia has killed 12 people and sickened more than 100 in the South Bronx. The victims contracted the illness after breathing in contaminated water vaporized through cooling systems.

“We must do everything we can to proactively prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease, which is why legislation requiring regular inspections and testing of cooling towers is extremely important,” Jumaane Williams, city council member and chair of the committee on housing and buildings, said in statement. “Without proper maintenance, cooling towers can accrue an overgrowth of Legionella,causing what has proven to be a fatal outcome for far too many New Yorkers.”
The illness was originally called " Pontiac Disease",  named after an outbreak in Michigan. It was associated with steam cleaning of water turbines.

Microscopic view of Legionela pneumophila
The bacteria are the long cylindrical figures. The cells are leucocytes, macrophages (single nucleus) polymorphonucleophages (multilobed nucleus) The nucleus is the darkly stained structure near the center of each cell. It takes up the stain more intensely since the nucleus contains DNA.
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