Over the past couple of months, press reports about the legionella bacteria and Legionnaires’ disease have been prevalent in the USA. There have been no media reports of problems in the UK, which is good news. And there’s more good news coming from Australia…
Promising results for Legionnaires’ treatment
Research being carried out in Australia shows promising signs for a future treatment for Legionnaires’ disease. Synthetic cannabidiol (CBD), which is the main non-psychoactive component of cannabis, has been found to be effective against a variety of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as legionella, as well as those causing meningitis and gonorrhoea. The breakthrough gives scientists hope that they can now go on to develop new and effective treatments.
Portuguese outbreak ends
In November, we reported an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that resulted in 10 fatalities in Portugal. This month, in another welcome piece of good news, the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control reported that the outbreak is now declared to be at an end.
Michigan governor being charged over Flint water crisis
A cost-saving exercise in 2014 resulted in a Legionnaires’ outbreak among residents in the US city of Flint. Officially there were 12 deaths in the first 18 months, though it’s thought that the total could be higher. Even after seven years and $40m spent on remedial measures, parts of the city’s water supply are still contaminated, and the City and State have set aside $650m to settle hundreds of lawsuits. In January 2021, it was announced that the former Governor, his health director and seven other officials are being charged with involuntary manslaughter for their part in the scandal and could face up to 15 years in prison.
Legionnaires’ outbreak in Portland
In the States, a contaminated water system in a senior residential building has resulted in one death and four people being hospitalised. Local health officials are working with the building’s managers to treat the water.
Paying the price for poor planning
The owners of an apartment building in Hot Springs, Arkansas have had to find alternative accommodation at their own expense for all their tenants while work is undertaken to get rid of the legionella bacteria. Some residents had initially contracted Legionnaires’ disease in 2019, after which the water system was drained, yet the bacteria was detected again last November. The Health Department has advised the owners that once the work has been completed, they must implement a robust water management plan.