Legionnaires’ Disease is on the rise in New England. Legionnaires’ is a severe form of pneumonia caused by infection usually acquired by inhaling the bacteria from water droplets emitted by cooling towers, whirlpool spas, showers, facets and other sources.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ can include high fever, chills, cough, chest pain and muscle aches. Victims are often hospitalized and the fatality rate is from 5 to 30 percent. As with most diseases it’s more severe in patients with underlying health issues. Most do recover from it with antibiotics.
In Maine they have seen 18 cases this year vs. 11 last year. Most developed the full blown disease and were hospitalized. Massachusetts, Connecticut and Quebec also have had significant, unexplained increases in recent months.
Homeowners can be exposed to Legionnaires’ when they turn on a shower after a plumbing repair or when they don’t heat their home’s hot water supply enough to kill the bacteria.
Experts think maybe the warmer weather and rain could be playing a role in the increase of Legionnaires’ cases recently.