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The Basics About Legionnaires’ Disease And HVAC Systems

There is no doubt that HVAC systems bring enormous benefits to homes and buildings across the globe. They not only cool the premises but also help people stay comfortable throughout the day. Their presence enhances productivity and prolongs the life of vital equipment. However, they could also negatively impact air quality if not properly cared for. The health of the occupants may suffer with individuals contracting respiratory diseases. One of the most dangerous is Legionnaires’ Disease.

 

A Brief History of Legionnaires’ Disease

The bacterium responsible for the disease may have been present for over six decades but it only came to public consciousness in the 1970s when a tragic incident got massive attention. It was 1976 and the American Legion gathered in Philadelphia for their annual convention. Suddenly, 221 of those who attended became sick and doctors could not figure out what was happening. Thirty four of them eventually died which triggered a panic. After the mystery behind the illness was solved, the strain was named after this incident.

 

Common Signs and Symptoms

Legionnaire’s Disease, also called legionellosis, is a form of pneumonia. Persons who are exposed to the bacteria will experience chills, coughing, high fever, body aches, and a host of other symptoms. As we have seen from the 1976 outbreak, this disease can be fatal and is difficult to cure. The best way to fight it is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The bacterium thrives in warm water that remains stagnant, making cooling towers ideal habitats. They can spread inside an establishment through centralized air conditioning as well as other means.

 

How the HVAC Industry Can Help

The industry has studied how to prevent a recurrence of the outbreak. Experts have found the weaknesses that made systems of that era vulnerable to the bacterium. Since then, various manufacturers have made changes to their product design and installation protocols. There are also methods of operation and maintenance procedures that help owners avoid this illness from affecting their site. All of these keep people safe from harm.

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