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plinko ball-Public warned vs Legionnaires' disease

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AN infectious disease expert said pipes and air-conditioning units in buildings should be checked to prevent the presence of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease.

The disease, caused by the Legionella strain of bacteria, was said to be the cause of a pneumonia-like outbreak that sickened 11 persons and caused four deaths in Argentina last August.

Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include persistent coughing, fever, myalgia or body pain that could lead to severe infection and death among immunocompromised individuals, and those with chronic lung disease if not given immediate and proper treatment.

In a briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Rontgene Solante said the Legionella virus thrives in water systems in buildings such as ventilation and cooling systems, as well as hot tubs and even swimming pools.

"This bacteria thrives in water and if persons are exposed to contaminated water like in air-conditioning systems, they can inhale this through water droplets, which will enter the lungs and cause pneumonia," Solante said.

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He added that tests for Legionnaire's disease are available in the country. The disease can be treated using antibiotics.

To prevent the disease, Solante urged those high-risk individuals to maintain a healthy lifestyle and take their maintenance medicine for those with hypertension and other conditions.

"There should be regular checks in building water systems, especially in old pipes as the bacteria can thrive there. Even hotel showers and swimming pools can be a source of infection," he said.

Health Officer in Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said whatever type of infectious disease that is being monitored across the globe, the Department of Health (DoH) has always been informed through the International Health Regulation platform of the World Health Organization.

She added that they are in close monitoring with other surveillance units, noting that the DoH has the capability to test the presence of the disease in the country through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

"Our RITM is capable of doing laboratory surveillance for this disease," Vergeire said.