With summer now breaking into full gear, the CDC has come out with its “Poop in the Pool Study”, recently covered in Newsweek, indicating that 80% of pools inspected had violations. With the focus on clean pools and hot tubs, it should be no surprise that the peak time for people contracting Legionnaires Disease is in the summer months. In fact, USA Today reports that diagnosis’ of Legionnaires’ disease have quadrupled since 2000.
Summer is Peak Season for Legionnaires’ Disease
As the graph illustrates, the frequency of legionnaires’ cases peak in June and July. This makes perfect sense because of the number of people and families that begin their summer travel in June through the rest of the summer. Taking that family vacation to the beach, enjoying the hotel or condo pool and hot tub is the routine summer holiday for most families. As is shown in the literature, warm temperature and stagnant water is the perfect setting for the development of legionella. Outdoor showers, water parks, water slides, steams and spas all are potential sources for contracting legionnaires disease. According to the Wall Street Journal:
“Instances of Legionnaires’ disease—a severe, sometimes fatal pneumonia—are growing in the U.S., often because hotels… haven’t taken enough steps to ensure their water is clean, according to a report issued Tuesday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ‘Almost all Legionniares’ disease outbreaks are preventable with improvements in water systems management.’
Cases of Legionnaires’ by Age and Gender
Unfortunately there is no specific demographic for the most prone victim of legionnaires disease. Males are three times more likely to get legionnaires disease than women. The most vulnerable age group is around the age of 60. Other statistics show the elderly, smokers, and those with impaired immune systems are more susceptible to contracting legionnaires disease. None of this matters if you are the one that has contracted the disease.
This summer, be cautious about your use of hot tubs and pools at your holiday condominium or hotel. (Facts About Legionella and Hot Tubs/Spas.)
In the event that you or a family member begins with symptoms of headaches, body pain and fever, be aware that what may seem like a cold or even pneumonia, could likely be the onset of legionnaires disease, and if so immediate action to get proper treatment and identify the source.