The Florida Department of Health has confirmed four cases of Legionnaires’ disease at two LA Fitness gyms in central Florida’s Orange County, CBS Orlando affiliate WKMG reports.
Tony Smith said he has been going to LA Fitness for more than a year, and now he’s concerned about getting sick.
“That kind of annoys me. My health is a top priority,” he said. “They’re always running out of soap, and they don’t have proper paper towels so you can wash your hands.”
Health inspectors went to the affected locations on Kirkman Road in Orange County and on Orange Blossom Trail in Hunter’s Creek on Friday and found conditions were favorable for the bacteria. Officials said the outbreaks occurred at the Kirkman location in late May and the Hunter’s Creek location in either late February or late May.
Showers and the spas at both locations were in need of treatment with a hydrochlorinated solution, officials said. The bacterial infection can spread when someone inhales mist from contaminated water.
This week’s outbreak marks the third LA Fitness location in the area that was found in recent months to have favorable conditions for the disease. In April, the Florida Department of Health confirmed three cases of the disease from people who were all members of the LA Fitness on Silver Star Road in Ocoee.
One woman said her husband got sick recently. She said she believes it happened after he used the gym.
“He’s 37 years old — very healthy man, never had any type of disease,” Malinda Capi said. “For him to spontaneously get pneumonia and work out here every single day …”
Previously, the disease was found at the LA Fitness on Michigan Street and Conway Road in 2008 and at the Waterford Lakes location in 2010.
Legionnaires’ disease is spread by the Legionella bacteria, which, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can grow and multiply in various parts of a building’s water system.
News of the Florida cases comes on the heels of several other outbreaks around the country. The bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ was found in a New York City police precinctwhere an officer was hospitalized with symptoms of the disease. Last week, the Southern Nevada Health District announced it is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ in guests who stayed separately at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The CDC said the bacteria grows best in warm water and can cause pneumonia-like symptoms, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever and headaches. Symptoms can show up as many as 10 days after exposure.
The CDC said people with the highest risk are 50 years or older, or people who have a weakened immune system.
“He’s always drinking water out of the faucet here,” Capi said of her husband. “They didn’t build the facilities correctly, or something isn’t right.”
Now, the Florida Department of Health said all those areas need to be treated, and showers and spas will be closed until further notice.
“I’ve never seen any signs of any sickness or bacteria that they found,” Smith said. “They should at least inform the members.”
WKMG reached out to LA Fitness about the bacteria claims, but has not heard back.
About 3% of Legionnaires’ disease cases were determined to be “definitely associated with a healthcare facility,” with 17% of cases listed as “possibly associated.”
More than 76% of Legionnaires’ disease cases acquired from Legionella exposure in healthcare facilities can be particularly harsh, including possible fatal risks to patients, according to a report released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by bacteria, called Legionella, that lives in water. Legionella can make people sick when they inhale contaminated water from building water systems that are not adequately maintained.
The report’s findings, which were a part of the CDC’s monthly Vitalsigns publication, are based upon exposure data from 20 states and New York City. According to the CDC, the analysis was limited to these 21 jurisdictions because they reported exposure details for most of their cases, which allowed the CDC to determine how Legionnaires’ disease was associated with healthcare facilities.
About 3% of Legionnaires’ disease cases were determined to be “definitely associated with a healthcare facility,” with 17% of cases listed as “possibly associated with a healthcare facility.”
“Determining Legionnaire’s disease causation is not simple since the mere presence of Legionella in a water system or device is not sufficient to cause disease. The bacteria must ultimately be inhaled or aspirated into the lungs of a susceptible person to cause disease,” says Michael Patton, member of ASHRAE Committee SSPC 188. “Since people with conditions that have reduced their ability to fight off infections are especially susceptible, it is not a surprise the report found patients in healthcare facilities to be at risk. It’s vitally important all buildings incorporate good design, operations, and maintenance procedures that prevent growth and spread of Legionella as these are regarded as the best methods of preventing disease.”
The incorporation of a Water Management Plan will reduce the chance of heavy colonization, amplification, and dissemination to people. With this in mind, ASHRAE developed ASHRAE Standard 188: Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems to assist designers and building operators in developing a Water Management Plan that includes practices specific to the systems that exist in a particular building, campus, or healthcare facility. (ASHRAE Standard 188 can be previewed at no cost on the ASHRAE website.
Based upon this ASHRAE standard, the CDC developed a toolkit entitled “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards.” The document (initially released in 2016 and updated on June 5, 2017) provides a checklist for facility owners and managers to help identify if a water management program is needed, examples to help identify where Legionella could grow and spread in a building and ways to reduce risk the of contamination
(KMSP) – Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they found the legionella bacteria in most regions of the country.
The bacteria was mostly unknown before a 1976 outbreak that claimed 29 lives, and now, the legionella bacteria can be found almost anywhere.
A new CDC report tested 196 cooling towers across the country, revealing that 84 percent tested positive for legionella DNA.
“That statistic is not surprising,” said Richard Danila, MDH Deputy State Epidemiologist. “Legionella bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment. You can find them in streams and rivers and in man-made systems like water towers.”
It’s contaminated water cooling towers that health officials blame for the Hopkins outbreak that sickened more than two dozen.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling water that contains the legionella bacteria, which causes symptoms such as coughing, headache and fatigue.
“Really what needs to happen is you need to have stagnant water, warm water and usually a bio film – slime of some sort that allows growth of that legionella,” Danila said.
Nationwide, Legionnaires’ cases have risen by a staggering 286 percent since the year 2000.