The nation’s leading public health authority is learning that it is not immune to the complex effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told employees that some of the office spaces that the rental company in the Atlanta area will be closed again after the property managers of the courts The house discovered Legionella, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease, in the water sources of these areas. No staff were sick. The announcement was reported by CNN on Friday.
The fact that the CDC is addressing this issue highlights the severity of Legionella as a result of locking the coronavirus and how complex its containment can be.
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The CDC itself warns that Legionnaires’ disease, a respiratory disease, can be fatal in 1 in 10 cases. Since different jurisdictions in the United States have already in effect locked doors to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, some experts have warned of the risk of an outbreak of Legionnaires once people return. buildings were vacant for months. The pathogenic bacteria, Legionella pneumophila, can form in warm, stagnant water that has not been properly disinfected. When the sink is turned on or the toilet is flushed, bacteria can be carried through the air and inhaled.
While most previous research has focused on Legionella growth during weekends and short breaks, scientists are only just beginning to learn about how bacteria multiply during stagnation. long stagnation and what is the most effective method to protect against it.
“Legionella is something we’ve known about it since the 1970s, but we’re still learning about it every day,” said Caitlin Proctor, a postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University in Indiana.
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Traditionally, draining water, such as the process of turning on a tap and shower, and passing fresh water through a building, can be helpful. However, extended shutdown times during coronavirus outbreaks are leaving building owners with new challenges.
The CDC has published voluntary guidelines to assist building owners and property managers to prevent Legionella from spreading when facilities reopen. But Andrew Whelton, an associate professor of civil, environmental and ecological engineering also at Purdue, argues that the instructions are often not specific enough.
“This is by design,” he said. “In general, federal guidelines issued are general and what building owners need is regulatory advice.”
“Maybe these guidelines aren’t enough,” said Dr. Proctor.
States, counties, and cities also have their own rules that in some cases may not be consistent with CDC’s advice.
Some buildings, depending on how long they are locked, require a higher dose of chlorine compared to traditional usage. The CDC post-lock instructions are not specific about the amount of drain required and often buildings do not drain for a long enough time or throughout the building.
It is not clear whether the managers of the buildings where the CDC closed the office followed the agency’s published guidelines or a different set of rules. A CDC spokesman said in a statement that “during the recent closure at our rented space in Atlanta,” the agency, working through the federal Integrated Services Administration, which provides office for the majority of the US government, has “directed homeowners to take protective measures of action. ”
Dr. Whelton says building owners often do not speak fully with their tenants about water management plans.
“CDC is a tenant, like many businesses across the country, who have to rely on the goodwill and trust of the building owner to do the right thing,” he said. For any company, it can be difficult to ensure that proper measures have been taken for its office.
Affected CDC buildings will be closed until the problem is corrected.
“The inability of the CDC to stop the Legionella contamination in their buildings is a sign that we all need to be proactive on this,” said Dr. Proctor.