Seniors Should Not Be The Canary In The Coal Mine for Legionnaires Disease

Dr. Janet E. Stout is an infectious disease microbiologist; Dr. Stout is recognized worldwide for seminal discoveries and pioneering research in Legionella. Dr. Stout explains why getting a Legionnaires’ disease diagnosis is challenging. Unfortunately, twenty percent of people who get the disease will die from it. Legionella bacteria are found in warm water. The most significant contributions come from cooling towers, hot tubs, decorative water features, faucets, and showers. Fifty percent of buildings have Legionella bacteria in them. Tune in as Dr. Stout explains the importance of getting tested for Legionnaires’ disease, where the hotbeds for Legionella bacteria are, and why seniors are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to Legionella exposure.

In This Episode:

  • [03:10] Meet Dr. Janet E. Stout. Dr. Stout explains her passion for special pathogens.
  • [05:45] About Legionnaires’ disease and where the Legionella bacteria is found.
  • [11:20] How many cases of Legionnaires’ disease are documented in the United States.
  • [14:00] Certain areas that are considered hotbeds for Legionnaires’ disease.  
  • [19:25] How to advocate to your local politicians about Legionella bacteria.
  • [24:05] Why you are less likely to have Legionella bacteria in your home.

Key Takeaways:

  • The common symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease is a lower fever, cough, and diarrhea.
  • If a physician thinks you have pneumonia, get tested for Legionnaires’ disease, and get an antibiotic as soon as possible.
  • Hotels are a place where we can be exposed to Legionella bacteria.
  • Senior folks are at a greater risk for getting Legionnaires’ disease; treatment is effective if started early, so make sure to advocate for yourself.
  • Seniors are the canary in the coal mine for hospitals because there is no requirement to test hospitals for Legionella bacteria. 

Meet Dr. Janet E. Stout

Dr. Janet E. Stout is president and director of Special Pathogens Laboratory, and research associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. An infectious disease microbiologist, Dr. Stout is recognized worldwide for seminal discoveries and pioneering research in Legionella. Her expertise includes prevention and control strategies for Legionnaires’ disease in building water systems. Dr. Stout’s more than 30 years of research is published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. She also has authored textbook chapters on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease, including the Legionella chapter in the APIC Text. An advocate for prevention, Dr. Stout assisted in developing the first Legionella prevention guideline (1993) in the United States, which continues to serve as a model for national and global health agencies and organizations. Additionally, she serves on the ASHRAE Legionella standard committee for Legionella Guideline 12 and the SPC 188 committee for ANSI / ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, the first U. S. standard for Legionella risk management. She is the first certified instructor of the ASSE 12080 Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialist Certification training.

Connect with Dr. Janet E. Stout: