Legionnaires’ disease bacteria lurk in tap water

Legionnaires’ disease bacteria lurk in tap water

Found in nearly half of faucets, contamination could explain sporadic cases of disease

By Beth Mole, 11:15 AM February 21, 2014

Of 68 water taps that scientists sampled across the United States, 47 percent harbored traces of Legionella pneumophila. The bacterium causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia and flulike Pontiac fever — collectively referred to as legionellosis.

Though legionellosis is relatively rare with an estimated 8,000 to 18,000 infections annually nationwide, the vast majority of cases are not linked to an outbreak and monitoring for L. pneumophila can be difficult.

Chemist Maura Donohue...

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