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Legionellosis Outbreak in Edinburgh Takes its Toll

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It is usually caused by breathing in the mist from hot tubs, showers or air conditioning units, cooling towers contaminated by Legionella. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches and a high fever. It usually develops 2 to 14 days after exposure

Edinburgh 6/11/2012 8:55:36 PM

Edinburgh, Scotland-- An outbreak of legionellosis in Edinburgh, Scotland, first reported by Health Protection Scotland (HPS) on  June 3rd, is still under investigation by HPS, the Lothian NHS board and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Between May 16 and June 7th, one death, 46 probable cases and 28 confirmed Legionnaires disease cases had been linked to the outbreak. Over 40 cases have been hospitalized.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia.  It is usually caused by breathing in the mist from hot tubs, showers or air conditioning units, cooling towers contaminated by Legionella. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches and a high fever. It usually develops 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Dr. Rajiv Sahay, Laboratory Director, Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) indicated “generally speaking, Legionella bacteria can multiply in indoor water systems, such as hot tubs, air conditioners, fountains, mist sprayers in any resort and facility if not effectively treated and maintained. The bacteria can cause significant health implications to those affected.”

The majority of Edinburgh Legionella cases were resident in the Stenhouse area, south west of the city. An environmental source of infection was suspected of causing the outbreak and, following initial investigations by HSE and Scottish environmental health officers, 16 cooling towers on four sites in the area were inspected and underwent treatment as a precautionary measure.

In recent US cases, MGM Resorts notified their guests that they might have been exposed to the bacteria between June 21 and July 4 after the district reported six cases of Legionnaires’ disease in July. The district said those guests recovered after treatment.  Numerous Legionerlla cases have risen in recent years.

Dr. Sahay suggests that “building owners and facility managers should utilize environmental laboratories using both an American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) accredited lab and CDC-ELITE (Environmental Legionella Isolation Techniques Evaluation) certified lab for Legionella testing.  These labs will provide the confidence your treatment methods are capably performed saving you time and money.”

To respond to this growing threat to public health, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will release ASHRAE Standard 188: Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems in summer 2012. The new standard will require that facility managers implement stronger safeguards through pro-active risk assessment and risk management practices.

“Monitoring and measuring for Legionella is the key to prevention. Testing your water system is the only way to confirm the presence or lack thereof of Legionella. Studies show there are no substitutes for testing. If you don't test, you don't know. Culturing water is the best way to identify Legionella to assess risk and to verify the efficacy of disinfection” stated Dr. Sahay.

The disease is spread through inhalation of the bacteria, and not person-to-person contact, according to the website. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include chills, confusion and gastrointestinal indications, according to the Mayo Clinic website.  According to CDC most cases of the illness can be treated with antibiotics.  The bacteria usually attack those that are immune-compromised.

For an evaluation of your facility or home call the professionals at Building Health Check/Pure Air Control Services at 800-422-7873 ext 802.

The Environmental Diagnostics laboratory (EDLab) is one of a few AHIA accredited environmental microbiological laboratories that is also CDC ELITE proficient, the highest laboratory standard.  For DIY testing of your building for bacterial/Legionella condition contact EDLab at 1-800-422-7873 Legionella DIY kits are also available at, Grainger, Professional Equipment (PE), Fergusons Supply, Johnstone Supply, among other fine retailers.

About Pure Air Control Services:

Alan Wozniak founded Pure Air Control Services, Inc. in 1984 as a small mechanical contracting firm. Today, the firm sets the industry standard for indoor environmental quality diagnosis and remediation.

Pure Air Control Services  is a national provider of the following IAQ services: Building Sciences Evaluation; Building Health Check (USP 797 monitoring compliance); Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) an AIHA accredited micro laboratory (USP 797 Lab analysis); DIY IAQ Green Check test kits, Environmental Project Management; HVAC System Cleaning and Mold Remediation Services, among other indoor environmental services.

The company’s expanding valued client roster includes the General Services Administration (GSA); Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Allstate Insurance; Carrier Air Conditioning; Naval Air Warfare Center, Orlando; and Naval Air Station - King's Bay, Georgia, and many other Fortune 500 companies, school boards, and city, state, and county governments, making Pure Air Control Services the reliable industry leader in IAQ.

For more information on Pure Air Control Services, Inc. please contact Cy Garner or Alan Wozniak at (800) 422-7873 ext 802 or visit our website

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