Amid COVID-19, remote work became the new normal, with the doors to most commercial offices closed for at least 90 days. The same was true for hotels, restaurants, theaters, gyms, factories, and other businesses that have been temporarily shut due to the pandemic. As businesses reopen, now there are also concerns about Legionnaires’ outbreaks, a potentially deadly consequence of the coronavirus.
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe, sometimes deadly respiratory condition caused by inhaling water droplets that contain the Legionella pneumophilia bacteria. The bacteria live in warm environments, surviving in biofilm – “clusters of microbial life that gather on surfaces” – and feeding on pipework sludge and sediment. Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person but causes large outbreaks through contaminated airborne water droplets from sources including showerheads, taps, cooling towers, air-conditioning systems, spa pools, hot tubs, and water fountains. The disease tends to affect people with compromised immune systems, with COVID patients and survivors potentially even more vulnerable.Continue reading