#1: Legionnaires' Disease on the Rise in the United States
Over the last few years there have been several high-profile outbreaks of a particular infectious disease: Legionnaires.'
Although the disease was first described over 40 years ago, in a recent ID Week 2017 presentation, Laura Cooley, MD, MPH, from the Respiratory Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), referred to it as an emerging disease in the sense that the number of recorded cases of Legionnaires’ in the United States continues to increase.
Why the increase? Dr. Cooley admitted that a solid answer remains elusive, but she postulated that it’s probably multifactorial. “There is definitely an increase in the susceptibility of the population in the United States. The population is aging, and there are more and more people on immunosuppressive medications,” Dr. Cooley shared.
She also pointed out that there could be more Legionella in the environment—with warmer temperatures making a great habitat for bacterial growth. Aging infrastructure could also encourage biofilm and Legionella growth. Dr. Cooley pointed out that improved diagnostic capabilities with the introduction of the urinary antigen test (UAT) for respiratory infections could also be a contributing factor; however, she feels it’s more so that “more clinicians are aware that this is a problem” thanks to the large outbreaks that have sprung up over the past years.
Read more about Legionnaires' disease, here
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