Cases of yet another deadly disease are increasing in NJ
It seems that every season brings a new disease to worry about. New Jersey, like any other state, has had its share of health threats, from Ebola to Zika and, of course, COVID-19.
However, there's another concern that has resurfaced recently: Legionnaires' disease.
This issue came to light again this past spring when the New Jersey Department of Health labeled it a possible cluster.
Back in December 2021, nj.com reported that Hamilton Township had five cases and one death possibly linked to their water supply, as Legionella had been detected in homes served by Trenton Water Works.
Then, in March, the Health Department reported seven Legionnaires' cases in Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, and Hopewell Township, resulting in two fatalities.
These areas were all served by the same water utility, according to the article.
Following that, as Dino Flammia reported Passaic County reported nine confirmed Legionnaires' cases among its residents, with an additional case in a neighboring Bergen County town, raising concerns about a possible cluster.
The same general area had reported cases late last year Legionnaires' disease can be contracted by inhaling small droplets of water containing the bacteria.
These droplets can come from sources like hot tubs, cooling misters, fountains, plumbing systems, and large building air conditioning units.
Fortunately, home air-conditioning units don't pose this risk.
While it's less common, people can also get sick if water containing Legionella goes down the wrong pipe when drinking. Despite investigations, a common cause for the recent surge in cases remains elusive.
The good news is that Legionnaires' disease is treatable with antibiotics when detected early. Recognizing the symptoms is crucial.
Like COVID-19 and the flu some of the symptoms are fever, chills, cough, chest pain shortness of breath, headache, and muscle aches.
But if you have these symptoms, don’t panic.
Unlike COVID-19 or the flu, Legionnaires' disease is not contagious from person to person. Those most at risk are individuals over 50, especially if they smoke or have chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems.
Young and healthy individuals are unlikely to get sick from Legionella exposure.
If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect a lung infection, visit your doctor for testing. Early detection is key to addressing Legionnaires' disease effectively.
As is the case with ANY disease, don’t be afraid, but be informed.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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