South Florida had its share of Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks over the recent years. Florida’s Department of Health defines “Legionnaires’ Disease” as an infection caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophilia. Symptoms associated with the disease often include muscle aches, high fever, cough, and chills. Unfortunately, as noted by the Florida Department of Health, this disease “thrive[s] in warm, aquatic environments.” The Department and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized yearly in the United States as a result of the disease.
While Legionnaires’ is not contagious in the sense that one person can pass it along to another, it can –and usually is– contracted when a person inhales the bacterium when it is airborne. For example, back in 2009, the disease killed one and caused 300 others to relocate from the EPIC Hotel in Miami. As one news outlet reported, investigators discovered that the hotel’s installed water filtration system at the time was so powerful that it removed chlorine from the “city-supplied water source,” which in turn caused the bacteria to grow. In this case, the bacterial disease could spread via “contaminated water vapor.” In a hotel setting, water sources contaminated with the bacterium can spread through the use of the faucet or shower, specifically through the mist that is emitted from such water.