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Bad Case of Legionella  RSS feed

 
Craig Moore
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This is a case of Legionella from Northern Michigan area. Member of sick family diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease Vacation rental lodge, probably has stagnant water in the hot water system often. Many of these vacation rentals turn off the hot water heaters when not occupied. Seems like prime breeding grounds for this kind of thing. Something to make everyone aware of.
 
Gerry Power
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Location: South coast MA, Zone 6b
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Legionaire's is a bacterium and if you store heat in water I assume that you can treat the water to restrict the growt of it.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I infected myself with this 3 years ago. I was in the habit of showering in buildings that I was demolishing up to a week after the power was cut. Often the temperature had taken days to cool and thus spent too long in the critical temperature zone. If you ever rent a cottage or motel room where the tank is turned off, wait for it to totally recover before showering. A bath is safer since inhalation of vapour is how you get it. This was the biggest health scare of my life and I no longer shower at jobsites when the power has been cut.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
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Couldn't stand it - no one was talking about Legionella in hot water heaters in the article or in the comments, so I jumped in. Thought I set up my account with a pseudonym, but oh well, there I am.

It's amazing how few people know about Legionella in hot water tanks. It's fairly criminal.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I have bno idea why, but Australasia has really high infection rates. Check this out!
The bacteria are also common in bagged compost/potting mix, and there's always warnings to avoid inhaling when opening bags.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
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WOW Leila! What made the rates skyrocket in 2009?? Was there a huge energy-savings push that had everyone and their brother either lowering the heat on their hot water heaters on installing (not very well-designed) solar water heaters or something?

Sheesh!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Because of this risk all of my alternative hot water both current and planned is of the batch type. Water that is only held for the day does not have time for a population explosion of any unwanted organisms. Wood fired hot tubs often go through large temperature fluctuations. This helps to ensure that they are not overrun with organisms that only thrive within a narrow temperature range. The same water held at a constant 105 F would need chemical treatment to remain "safe".

In my case, everything that I did contributed to my chances of being infected. I not only showered in the infected water but also rinced my mouth and nose, gargled etc. My paranoia about asbestos, rat feces and other contaminants that I regularly encounter at demolition and renovation projects led me to purposely snort water up my nose and blast it out again several times a day. I was also in the habit of filling a tree sprayer with water and spraying the room with lots of mist for a swamp cooler effect.

Vaporizers have been implicated in infecting babies. Parents assume that hot water is more sterile so they use it in the vaporizer. Usually the cold incoming water does not contain high levels of legionella. The biofilm that accumulates on tank surfaces and bottom sediment can be many times higher. I often showered in water that was slightly cloudy since the water had been turned off and on with pressure surges and often the tank had been disturbed. I often shook tanks to dislodge bottom sediment so that the reused tank would last longer at the new location. The highest concentrations of legionella have been found in the scale and sediments that accumulate at the bottom of tanks which can be quite a bit cooler than the top of the tank. Probably the most dangerous thing I did was to continue using water from the tanks after the water was cut off at the road by gathering it from the bottom drain spiggot. This water often contained bits of bottom scale. I had many luke warm baths from tanks that no longer had water pressure.
 
Gerry Power
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Location: South coast MA, Zone 6b
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Does chlorine restrict the growth of this bacterium?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Leila Rich wrote:I have no idea why, but Australasia has really high infection rates. Check this out!
The bacteria are also common in bagged compost/potting mix, and there's always warnings to avoid inhaling when opening bags.


Cooling towers in air conditioning systems are the most common culprit. This snippet from Wikipedia shows critical temperature range. Locations that contain many antiquated AC systems give many opportunities for infection. The bacteria are endemic almost everywhere. Population levels are related to temperature. The natural environment in many places can spend long periods in the critical temperature range. Everything from rain barrels to bags of compost to water left in the bathtub would be at the right temperature for a population explosion.

* Above 70 °C (158 °F) - Legionella dies almost instantly
* At 60 °C (140 °F) - 90% die in 2 minutes (Decimal reduction time (D) = 2)
* At 50 °C (122 °F) - 90% die in 80–124 minutes, depending on strain (Decimal reduction time (D) = 80-124)
* 48 to 50 °C (118 to 122 °F) - Can survive but do not multiply
* 32 to 42 °C (90 to 108 °F) - Ideal growth range
* 25 to 45 °C (77 to 113 °F) - Growth range
* Below 20 °C (68 °F) - Can survive but are dormant, even below freezing

Whole article --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionella
 
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