With the spring slate of home and garden shows not too far ahead, the CDC has issued a health alert about hot tubs – specifically those used in displays at such temporary events. According to the CDC, the hot tubs they may pose a risk for Legionnaires’ disease, a type of pneumonia caused by inhaling mist containing Legionella bacteria.
The has issued a health alert in which it warns environmental and public health practitioners about the public health need to maintain, clean and disinfect hot tubs properly to reduce potential exposure to Legionella. Environmental health practitioners are urged to work with event planners and hot tub vendors to minimize the risk of Legionella exposure even if the hot tub is only for display.
Legionella grows best in warm water (77°F-108°F), like the water temperatures used in hot tubs. Warm temperatures also make it hard to keep disinfectants, such as chlorine, at the levels needed to kill bacteria like Legionella. Disinfectant and other chemical levels in hot tubs should be checked regularly. Hot tubs should be cleaned as the manufacturer recommends.
Just being in the vicinity of a a hot tub that is not adequately maintained can expose people to Legionella bacteria. This makes display hot tubs at temporary events a risk for Legionnaires’ disease if they contain Legionella bacteria. People with symptoms of Legionella exposure who have recent exposure to a hot tub filled with water should be encouraged to seek medical care.
Exposure to Legionella via aerosol or aspiration of water containing Legionella can lead to Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia. Signs and symptoms can include cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, and fever. Most people get sick within 10 days of exposure, though the incubation period can be as long as 14 days. Pontiac fever symptoms are primarily fever and muscle aches; it is a milder illness than Legionnaires’ disease, and pneumonia is absent. Symptoms begin between a few hours to three days after being exposed to the bacteria and usually last less than a week.
Hot tubs have been associated with large outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.[2,3] The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services investigated an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease associated with a state fair in September 2019. As of November 13, 2019, 139 confirmed cases (134 Legionnaires’ disease and 5 Pontiac fever) have been identified, resulting in 96 hospitalizations and 4 deaths. Interim conclusions from the investigation suggest that exposure to Legionella bacteria occurred in an events center building where vendors were displaying hot tubs. Their findings highlight the importance of proper operation and maintenance of devices that aerosolize water.Read more here Source: ISHN