Mysterious Legionella Outbreak Linked To Paving Machine
Two cases were confirmed by the end of the month, followed by eight in the first half of August, and one in the second half. The victims were 49 to 88 years old. All were hospitalized with fever and other symptoms; one died. This profile is fairly typical for an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease; the source was not.
This microbe lives in fresh water nearly everywhere, and it becomes a problem only when inhaled as a fine spray or aerosol. (Legionella is harmless if you drink it.) Outbreaks are usually traced back to man-made supplies of warm water, such as water cooling systems, fountains, hot tubs, even showers. This time in Alcoi, however, investigators could not trace the responsible strain to any of the usual suspects.
The culprit?...A milling machine that ground up old asphalt, which carried a 528-gallon water tank to supply atomizers that sprayed a mist intended to settle dust. The water in this particular machine did not come from the municipal water supply, but directly from a spring, unchlorinated and untreated.
For the whole story on this mysterious Legionella outbreak, read here.