The Rhode Island Health Department has issued a warning about an increase in respiratory disease linked to contaminated water.
The Rhode Island Department of Health announced Monday that it is looking into an increase in cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, a respiratory infection conveyed mostly through contaminated water systems’ air.
From June 2 through July 26, the state reported 30 instances of the disease, with 29 infections occurring between June 17 and July 21. In June and July of the previous six years, Rhode Island had an average of only 10 instances each month, according to the health agency.
28 of the 30 patients who have lately contracted the ailment have been admitted to the hospital.
The Legionella bacterium causes the disease, which normally affects people within two to ten days of exposure. Cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches, and lung failure are all symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease.
According to the health department, most persons who are diagnosed with the sickness will need to be hospitalized, but with antibiotics, they will be able to recover completely.
However, the government cautioned that one out of every ten people will die as a result of the condition. Those who are diagnosed early in their disease and start taking antibiotics are less likely to develop major complications or die.
The health service stated that no common source of exposure has been found as being linked to the latest spate of cases, but that an investigation is underway.
In a statement, Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said, “We know that Legionella bacteria grow best in complex water systems that are not adequately managed.” “People can breathe in contaminated water when it becomes aerosolized in minute droplets, such as in a cooling tower, shower, or decorative fountain.”
Alexander-Scott went on to say that this is a “special concern” now that the water systems in some buildings have been out of commission for a long time due to the coronavirus pandemic and have just lately been restored.
Buildings with several housing units and a centralized hot water supply, such as hotels or high-rise apartment complexes, are more likely to have Legionella bacteria.
The health agency advises elders living in multiple housing units with a centralized hot water system to inquire if a Legionella water management program is in place to reduce the risk of exposure.
In addition, those who live in houses or other forms of structures. This is a condensed version of the information.