Can I drink the water? 8 Things You Should Know about Legionnaires Disease
- Legionnaires disease is a bacteria that causes infection in your lungs. It is like pneumonia. It is not a virus. It is infection from bacteria so doctors use antibiotics to treat sick people. Legionnaires Disease is most dangerous for smokers, older people, and people with weak immune systems.
- The Legionnaires bacteria lives and grows in warm water and in the summer the bacteria can live and grow easily in cooling towers for buildings.
- The cooling tower is usually on the roof and it is connected to the air conditioning (AC) system. Your drinking water does not come from the cooling tower. If the bacteria are in the cooling towers then they can get into the air conditioning system. The bacteria travels in tiny droplets of water (vapor) in the AC air.
4. You can get the Legionnaires disease if you breathe in these very tiny droplets of water (vapor). The bacteria go into your lungs and can cause the Legionnaires sickness.
5. IMPORTANT: The water storage tanks are also on the roof but they are not the problem. Your drinking water is not contaminated with Legionnaires. It is SAFE TO DRINK.
6. Public Health Officials know a lot about Legionnaires because they learned about it in 1976 in Philadelphia. 2,000 veterans (legionnaires) were at a convention in a big hotel. Within 1 week 221 veterans became ill and 34 died. Scientists found bacteria in the cooling tower and they called it “Legionella” bacteria. That’s how they learned how it gets into the air conditioning system and then into people’s lungs.
7. Public health officials check the cooling tanks on the roofs of building to see if Legionnaires bacteria is there. If they find the bacteria they clean the tank. Bacteria gone!
8. Public drinking water is safe because it comes from underground pipes and sometimes, water storage tanks, not from cooling towers.
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