Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak: Memphis Motel Tied To 6,000 Cases
Source: http://www.scienceworldreport.com, September 29, 2016
In the midst of Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak, investigation links a Memphis motel to 6,000 confirmed cases. On September 22, the Shelby County Health Department closed the La Quinta Inn located at 2979 Millbranch Road.
Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems.
According to Wreg, there were 6,000 reservations in the motel between July 1 and September 22, as reported by the health department. In addition to this, Helen Morrow said they are currently notifying patrons through snail mail, telephone call, and email. These people, according to Morrow, are from all over the country.
Moreover, she also advised that people who stayed in the motel and became ill should visit their doctors and undergo diagnosis. Likewise, she encouraged people with symptoms to contact the Shelby County Health Department. The bacteria that causes the disease are usually from air-condition units, fountains, and hot tubs. The common symptoms are shortness of breath, headaches, muscle aches, cough, and fever. Experts use antibiotics to treat the disease.
Meanwhile, Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak has already made headlines in the U.S. early this year when Jim Henry, Genesee County Health director, told CNN that the 24 cases of death in Michigan last 2014 could have been prevented. But the problem was that the state could not help the health department find the source. Summer 2014 was among the worst outbreaks of the disease in the entire U.S. history. 87 people got the disease and nine of them died.
Legionnaires’ Disease got its name from the outbreak in which experts identified it for the first time. Mayo Clinic defines it as a severe form of pneumonia. A bacterium named legionella causes the illness when inhaled. Susceptible to Legionnaires’ Disease are smokers, people with weak immune systems, and older adults. The illness is deadly; hence people experiencing the aforementioned symptoms indeed have to go ti their physicians and undergo necessary tests.
More than 6,000 could have been exposed to Legionnaires’ Disease at Memphis motel
Posted 10:36 am, September 28, 2016, by George Brown and Troy Washington, Updated at 10:45am, September 28, 2016
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Shelby County Health Department estimates 6,000 people could have been exposed to Legionnaires' Disease at a Memphis motel.
There are six confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease tied to a Memphis motel.
The La Quinta Inn at 2979 Millbranch Road was closed by the Shelby County Health Department September 22.
"We are in the process of notifying patrons via email, snail mail, and Telephone said Helen Morrow.
The health department says there were 6,000 reservations there between July 1 and September 22.
"This is a high occupancy hotel and these people are from all over the country," said Morrow.
The respiratory disease caused by bacteria often in hot tubs, fountains and air conditioning units.
Antibiotics are used as treatment.
"If they stayed there and became ill they should inform their doctor and that should be considered in a diagnosis," added Morrow.
The disease is named after the outbreak where it was first identified, the 1976 American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
"We have not had anything of this magnitude in my tenure here," recalls Morrow.
If you stayed at this motel and have the below symptoms, please contact the Shelby County Health Department at 901-222-9299.
Symptoms are similar to other types of pneumonia and it often looks the same on a chest x-ray.
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
Causes and Common Sources of InfectionLegionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made water systems like
- Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
- Hot water tanks and heaters
- Large plumbing systems
- Cooling towers (air-conditioning units for large buildings)
- Decorative fountains
Home and car air-conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they are not a risk for Legionella growth.
After Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, that contaminated water then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. People are exposed to Legionella when they breathe in mist (small droplets of water in the air) containing the bacteria. One example might be from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected.
Less commonly, Legionella can be spread by aspiration of drinking water, which is when water “goes down the wrong pipe,” into the trachea (windpipe) and lungs instead of down the digestive tract. People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties. In general, Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever are not spread from one person to another. However, this may be possible in rare cases. 
If you have reason to believe you were exposed to the bacteria, talk to your doctor or local health department. Your local health department can determine if an investigation is needed. Be sure to mention if you spent any nights away from home in the last two weeks.
Most healthy people do not get sick after being exposed to Legionella. People at increased risk of getting sick are:
- People 50 years or older
- Current or former smokers
- People with a chronic lung disease (like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or emphysema)
- People with a weak immune system from diseases like cancer, diabetes, or kidney failure
- People who take drugs that suppress (weaken) the immune system (like after a transplant operation or chemotherapy)