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Legionnaires hits close to home

Two cases of Legionnaire?s disease were confirmed the other day; the irresistible hook being that the men, ages 60 and 70 were Legionnaires. They came down with flu-like symptoms shortly after attending a meeting of the American Legions in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just miles from Philadelphia where the first cases were documented and the culprit Legionella pneumophila was first fingered almost 30 years ago. Following an American Legions convention in July of 1976, Philadelphia?s Bellev

By | August 12, 2005

Two cases of Legionnaire?s disease were confirmed the other day; the irresistible hook being that the men, ages 60 and 70 were Legionnaires. They came down with flu-like symptoms shortly after attending a meeting of the American Legions in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, just miles from Philadelphia where the first cases were documented and the culprit Legionella pneumophila was first fingered almost 30 years ago. Following an American Legions convention in July of 1976, Philadelphia?s Bellevue-Stratford, became a hotspot for media and scientific speculation after a disease sickened 221 and killed 34. It wasn?t until January of the following year that the bacterium was isolated by Joseph McDade. The idiosyncratic nutritional requirements of the bug made it difficult to culture. It was later found festering in the cooling towers of the Bellevue-Stratford delivered to attendees through the A/C. In the 1970s Legionnaires created an enormous stir, and there?s generally still a bit of scaremongering that accompanies even outbreaks as small as two. But the numbers and death rate don?t rival that of, say, pneumonia. Moderate to sizeable outbreaks tend to happen in the hot parts of the summer in places where the elderly congregate. Put a bunch of old people in a huge hotel with central air, and something like this is bound to happen. After the 70s stricter regulations were set on A/C cooling towers. Montgomery county officials have begun taking water samples at the hotel where the 2005 convention was held. Hope they check the hot tub.
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