THE WATER BLOG
Innovative Water Consulting
Innovative Water Consulting
Mar 14, 2020 4 min read

Coronavirus and Legionella

What do working moms do on their lunch breaks?  Often times we run errands to pick up necessities our families at home need.  Monday during our lunch time, a coworker and I ran to Costco.  My household was down to our last roll of toilet paper and only had one extra roll of paper towel.  We witnessed first-hand the frenzy surrounding the “toilet paper shortages”.   Costco was completely out of toilet paper!  Our local store is typically piled high, dedicating half of the very back wall of the store to rolls and rolls of toilet paper.  My co-worker also has a Sam’s Club membership so she immediately called to see if they had any toilet paper in stock.  Thanking the toilet paper gods, Sam's Club had just received a shipment in that morning.  We finished our shopping at Costco and headed to Sam’s Club.  We entered Sam’s Club and found people loading their enormous carts full of toilet paper. Of course, we couldn’t help but chuckle a bit as we were witnessing the toilet paper panic of 2020.      

 

 The coverage surrounding Coronavirus/Covid-19 has all of us at Innovative Water Consulting talking.  Of course, we are sharing stories like the one above amongst our staff. But more than anything, our discussions are a bit different than those amongst other co-workers.  We work each and every day to prevent and another infectious disease. Our conversations surround the similarities and differences we see between Coronavirus and Legionnaires’ Disease. 

 

Coronavirus and Legionnaires

 

Coronavirus has a mortality rate just above 3%, though this figure seems to be coming down as we learn more about how this disease spreads.  Legionnaires disease in contrast has a much high mortality rate of around 10%.

The two diseases are strangely similar by comparison.

 

 

Coronavirus

Legionnaires’ Disease

Mortality Rate

3%

10%

 

 

 

Risk Factors

Current or former smokers

Current or former smokers

 

Preexisting lung diseases

Preexisting lung diseases

 

Underlying health conditions

Underlying health conditions

 

Older adults

Older adults

 

 

 

Exposure to onset

2-14 days

2-10 days

 

 

 

Symptoms

Cough

Cough

 

Fever

Fever

 

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath

 

Respiratory problems

Respiratory problems

 

 

 

Severe Cases

The infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The infection is a type of pneumonia and complications can include respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, or even death.

 

Legionnaires’ disease affects a similar subset of the population that Coronavirus does.  Both diseases are of higher risk to:

  • - Older adults
  • - Those with chronic medical conditions such as lung disease and heart disease
  • - Smokers
  • - Diabetics
  • - Those with compromised immune systems

 

Of course, there are differences between Coronavirus and Legionnaires’ Disease. Coronavirus is caused by a virus, yet Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by bacteria.  Another disparity is Coronavirus can be spread person-to-person; Legionnaires’ Disease cannot.

 

Coronavirus vs Legionnaires

 

Just as with the Coronavirus, there is no vaccine for Legionnaires’ disease.  The best way to prevent the spread of it is by keeping the Legionella bacteria from growing. To do this, it is important to make sure that water systems in buildings are being properly maintained and tested regularly. Testing should be conducted often and the latest standard: ISO 11731:2017 (E) should be followed for all water testing.  To find out more about testing, check out our testing page HERE. For full risk mitigation, it is imperative to have a fully validated and verified water management program that follows step by step actions each week to mitigate the risk for the growth of legionella bacteria. The risk of Legionnaires’ disease can be reduced in your facility.  Contact IWC, HERE to find out how we can help.

 

FOLLOW US @INNOVATIVEWATERCONSULTING