Claim: Climate change increases risk of Legionnaires Disease

legionella pneumophila, public domain image, source CDC Public Health Image Library (CDC Phil #1187)

legionella pneumophila, public domain image, source CDC Public Health Image Library (CDC Phil #1187)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Remember back when Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks were believed to be mostly associated with poorly maintained, unhygienic building air conditioners? According to Dr David Fisman of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the real culprit might be climate change.

As reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease climb in the United States — there have been three major outbreaks in the news this summer — researchers say the increase could be partly a result of climate change.

More than three times as many cases of legionellosis, of which Legionnaires’ disease is one form, were reported in 2009 than 2000 — 3,522 up from 1,110, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This year the disease has broken out at a western Illinois veterans home, at San Quentin State Prison near San Francisco and in New York City, which has seen a similar rise in the disease. Its incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods, according to an October study in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Dr. David N. Fisman, a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said in an email that he doubted the increase was the result solely of improved testing. The rise is linear and across all regions of the United States, he said.

“Give that we know climate change is going to make for hotter, stormier summers (and already is doing so) it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest that the ongoing rise in legionellosis in the US could be at least partly due to climate change,” he wrote.

Read more: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Legionnaires-Disease-on-the-Rise-and-Climate-Change-Could-Be-a-Culprit-320157491.html

Obviously Dr Fisman is not insisting that climate change is the sole contributing factor to Legionella outbreaks. But given that there has been no change in global temperature for over 18 years, in my opinion it is implausible that anthropogenic global warming could be contributing significantly to the dramatic rise in the detection of Legionella cases since 2002.

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140 thoughts on “Claim: Climate change increases risk of Legionnaires Disease

  1. Let me guess, all the outbreaks are in or near low income areas..
    Or places where infrastructure is poorly funded and maintained.

    • Indeed Felflames.

      Its incidence of cases increased 230 percent from 2002 to 2009, with the greatest number in high-poverty neighborhoods,…..

      Could it be that more poor people are acquiring air conditioners and not maintaining them properly? I dunno.

      July 7, 2012
      “The amount of energy consumed by U.S. homes for air conditioning has doubled in the past 12 years, according to Cox, and now accounts for nearly 20 percent of our electricity use.”
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/07/how-air-conditioning-transformed-the-u-s-economy/
      ———————-
      “The primary cause of air conditioning and Legionnaire’s Disease contamination is poor maintenance and design”
      http://www.airconditioningservices.com/info/legionnaires-disease-facts/

      • Jimbo quotes-
        ““The primary cause of air conditioning and Legionnaire’s Disease contamination is poor maintenance and design”
        So perhaps it is linked to poorer design of A/C units that can be manufactured at lower costs.
        Or perhaps it is linked to people running their units at higher room temperatures, which increases the chances of Legionnaire’s disease gaining a foothold in the air handler and/or ducts.
        Or perhaps it is linked to increased prevalence of power being frequently shut off to people who can’t afford to pay their mandated-renewable-energy electric bill. In this case, increase in Legionnaire’s disease may be partly caused by climate change policies.

      • ““The primary cause of air conditioning and Legionnaire’s Disease contamination is poor maintenance and design”
        Per the reference @ http://www.airconditioningservices.com/info/legionnaires-disease-facts/
        the bacteria have to be carried by mist which means:
        Whirlpool spas
        Cooling towers
        Humidifiers
        Hot water tank-supplied showers
        Some types of water-cooled air conditioning systems
        The article recommends Freon based A/C to resolve the problem. However as A/C usage grows that should also drive up local air temperatures (that apparently don’t matter after the temps have been homogenized).

      • I think we are missing the point. Global Warming is causing the increased use of air conditioning which is leading to more Legionaires Disease.
        This reasoning is quite easy once you get the hang of it.

      • Robert: Except for the fact that the places where there have been outbreaks have been using AC pretty much since AC was invented. Add to that the increase in costs associated with climate change regulations has made electricity much more expensive, which implies that people will be using their AC less, not more.

      • “I think we are missing the point.”
        The point is that the article & paper (as presented) do not separate the widely used freon (and sometimes ammonia) based A/C from those causing the real problem, i.e. those producing mists during cooling. Therefore on the surface it is wildly extremist as it implies that ALL air conditioning can cause the disease.

    • Very likely. Give it a few hours and that study will be seriously bunked, especially as Eric noted that there’s been no warming/change for 18.7 years.
      It’s yet more arm-flailing for (hopefully) rapidly diminishing feeding-trough money.

      • There have been “heat island” increases though. And that would most likely increase the use of air conditioning.

    • Here is more.

      RECS 2009 — Release date: August 19, 2011
      …..As recently as 1993, only 68% of all occupied housing units had AC. The latest results from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that 87 percent of U.S. households are now equipped with AC. This growth occurred among all housing types and in every Census region. …..
      http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/2009/air-conditioning.cfm
      http://www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/reports/images/acb_fig1_lg.png

    • Yes and they need you to quit hoarding your money you dirty capitalist swine and share it with those unwilling or unable to support themselves

    • Every possible headline the global warmists and alarmists can get in the lead up to the Paris party they will take.
      In their collective minds, the more alarmism they create, the more it justifys this massive waste of dwindling financial resources of governments around the world.
      No matter how ridiculous or far fetched it may be, If it’s deemed to be a threat, they’ll claim it as a indicator of global warming.
      I’ve had a pain in the butt for a long time now and I’m pretty sure it’s caused by global warming or the alarmists associated with it.
      Or the more likely, a combination of both.

      • Because fear has occasionally altered public opinion rapidly and dramatically, activists are ever-hopeful they can use it as a tool. The thing is, lasting fear requires discernible human suffering. Not polar-bear suffering. Not Pika suffering. The feeling just doesn’t last when people tell you what you what you should fear.

      • Leigh,
        I have a Master’s Medical certificate.
        [Ship Master’s Medical – four days, add warm water and stir.]
        Let me help.
        QUOTE
        I’ve had a pain in the butt for a long time now and I’m pretty sure it’s caused by global warming or the alarmists associated with it.
        Or the more likely, a combination of both.
        END QUOTE
        I’ve had a pain in the butt for a long time now and I’m pretty sure it’s caused by global warming.
        Or, more likely, the alarmists associated with it.
        Does that help?
        PS My medical expertise is (almost) unlimited.
        Auto

      • I promise I’m not going to keep putting a couple of new panic headlines in every day.
        But here’s another example of that alarmism that’s been thoroughly discredited.
        Not just here but by every one that actually cares to look at what they are actually saying.
        The ifs buts and maybes are starting to come thick and fast.
        They are now tempering and pushing out the time frames as reality and observation hits home.
        They now “feel” sort of like the “vibe”.
        That sea levels won’t engulf us by “eight storey” rises by the end of the century.
        That’s now, they “believe” going to be only a metre not at the end of this century but the century AFTER this one.
        As their global warming simply refuses to accommodate their alarmism, unless it is adjusted and homogenised “but it will one day but we are just not sure when”.
        They will do and say anything to wring another dollar out of the public with nothing but dirty “crystal ball gazing” and “full palm readings”.
        Just to stay upright on the gravy train that is global warming!
        http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/nasa-says-sea-levels-will-rise-by-a-metre-over-the-next-century/story-fnjwvztl-1227515406455

  2. This post reminded me of a cute history of medicine I saw someplace.

    A Short History of Medicine
    “I Have an Earache…”
    2000 BC: Here, eat this root.
    1000 AD: That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
    1850 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
    1940 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
    1985 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic.
    2000 AD: That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root…

    Has medical science ever been right?

      • Has medical science ever been right?
        Do you know anyone who has been crippled by polio? How about someone who died of small pox? Or of tuberculosis? I had two friends who died of cancer, I’ve got at least a dozen who were cured. I know people with artificial hips and knees who would have been cripples for the last decades of their life and instead are out leading active lives. I and many others would be blind from glaucoma if it were not for a simple drop in my eye every morning.
        I could go on for several pages like that, but I think you see my point by now. Medical science not only gets it right a lot, it is one of the main reasons we now life active lives into our 70’s and even 80’s instead of becoming invalids and dying in our 50’s.
        Criticize bad science by all means, but don’t paint it all with the same brush.

      • dmh,
        I see that you think that these diseases were tamed by vaccinations rather than clean water, sanitation, indoor plumbing, and hygiene. Go ahead and believe what you want to believe but the facts, should you choose to investigate, are not supportive of the dogma of inoculations.
        http://www.whale.to/vaccine/vaccines77.html
        https://childhealthsafety.wordpress.com/graphs/
        http://www.whale.to/v/vaccinated_children.html
        http://www.healthfreedoms.org/the-vaccine-hoax-is-over-documents-from-uk-reveal-30-years-of-coverup/http://www.naturalnews.com/048467_vaccine_industry_intelligent_questions_scientific_principles.html
        (just a few of the hundreds of documents I have read over the years)

        Mark Stoval says:
        Dr. Brownstein,
        Can you point me to a medical study that was a long term, randomized, double blind trial that compared vaccinated subjects to non vaccinated subjects and proved the safety and effectiveness of some vaccine? Seems to me that a “gold standard” medical trial someplace must have been used to prove some vaccine both safe and effective.
        I saw a graph once of some of the old killer diseases that were in long term decline due to better sanitation and when a vaccine was developed it made no difference to the decline but was hailed as a “major breakthrough” never the less.
        My guess is that vaccinated people suffer far more health issues that those who do not get vaccinated. I wager that keeping your immune system functional through healthy living and diet is the best path.

        David Brownstein says:
        mark,
        There is not a single study from the FDA comparing vaccinated with unvaccinated children. It is easy to do. That study would answer many questions.
        Most vaccinated diseases were on the decline when the vaccines were introduced.
        DrB

        As to artificial hips and knees, perhaps some people would not need these very expensive and invasive procedures if they eat correctly and lived correctly. There are none of even the aged who need such things in my sister-in-law’s native land. And do you really think modern Americans live longer now? The fact that infant mortality is much improved has a great impact of life expectancy rates — but few are willing to point that out these days. Dogma lives on — people are skeptics and check the facts in one area but buy the propaganda in other areas.
        We may set broken bones ok and treat gun shots ok, but I would not call modern medicine anything positive and many experts have expressed the same thing.
        ~Mark

      • markstoval – methinks you misunderstand life expectancy. We live longer now, thanks in part to modern medicine helping us not to die of things that we used to die of. And that includes the things that infants used to die of. It’s not just about how long healthy people live. [NB “in part” – of course it’s not only modern medicine].

      • “Dr. Brownstein, Can you point me to a medical study that was a long term, randomized, double blind trial that compared vaccinated subjects to non vaccinated subjects and proved the safety and effectiveness of some vaccine? Seems to me that a “gold standard” medical trial someplace must have been used to prove some vaccine both safe and effective.”
        >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
        Efficacy of 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine in preventing pneumonia and improving survival in nursing home residents: double blind, randomised and placebo controlled trial.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20211953

    • Here in Central Alberta, we got stormier…because the cold air from up north was mixing with the normally warm air in the region. Now, on September 6, the cold air has basically pushed storm central away. At 1 degree celsius, and with about an inch of snow in high ground Calgary, we’re in for an outflux of LD.

      • I live in Central florida – roughly a week ago, almost-(sort of)-hurricane Erika blew thru here with 12 MPH winds, which put a 1/2 inch set of white caps in my swimming pool.
        The violence was terrible – mu favorite pool inflatable was blown up against the side and SCUFFED UP! Oh, the humanity…

  3. “it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest that the ongoing rise in legionellosis in the US could be at least partly due to climate change,”…
    Now, that’s a real scientific statement if I ever saw one… haha.
    You could get a more declarative sentence from a tea leaf reader or fortune teller. These alarmists are looking for anything to hang their hats on. It’s really the worst science possible.

  4. “…could be partly a result of climate change.”
    “…it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to suggest…”
    “…could be a factor,”
    “…it might be that the true culprit…”
    Could it possibly be, under certain circumstances, all things considered, that this could maybe attract a hypothetical research-grant?

  5. There is, I suggest, the possibility that as a direct result of Obama’s economic miracle, companies and government institutions are cutting back on preventive maintenance of cooling systems. but there again, it could be that I’m just another right-wing conspiracy-nut.

  6. There has been an increase in the number of cruciate ligament injuries in footballers over the past 20 years.
    I am certain that the increase is due to global warming.

    • That’s because in a warmer world, athletes feel that they are completely warmed up when in fact they are not. If the climate were to cool then the athletes would take more time to warm up and be more prepared for the rigors of the game. (Do I really need a sarc tag or should I apply for my grant now?)

      • GRANT TIP: Rust in barbed-wire fencing has very probably accelerated massively. Humidity due to CAGW!
        Farm animals in danger! Go talk to your left-leaning professor – there’s money to be made here.

    • Tooright
      Apologies, but is it possible that our (self-selected) betters – they’re creaming it from the Climate Fraud – have mixed cause and effect?
      Many poor ball-kickers are suffering cruciate ligament injuries – and, hence, we see massively increased claims for Gore-bull warming.
      Seems logical to me – although I admit I cannot, at this stage of the red wine, suggest a plausible, reliably grant-harvesting mechanism.
      Auto

  7. So, now climate controlled buildings are affected by climate change. What a joke.
    If climate change could increase the risk of Legionnaires Disease, then, why hasn’t the disease been contracted from filthy automobile AC’s?
    I can’t think of another product more exposed to the environment than an old beater.

    • A couple reasons I can think of from back when its cause was first elucidated:
      1) Victims are generally elderly folk with weakened immune systems.
      It was found first at a Legionnaire’s convention, after all. They’re unlikely to be spending much time in cars.
      2) The reservoir was the drainage troughs for the air conditioners.
      In a building the AC is often running full time and the air chiller is perpetually wet. Pretty good conditions for bacteria that don’t mind the cold and can stick to wet surfaces instead of falling down the drain.
      Car AC units don’t run fulltime, and have a decent chance of drying out between trips. However, I generally turn off my AC a mile or so from home and let the radiator dry off. Less chance for mildew and other crud to grow between trips.
      3) Air exchange rates are low in convention hotels, and high in cars.
      Any bacteria that make it into a car’s passenger compartment are more likely to make it out than be inhaled.

      • Looks like my #2 is mostly bogus. From the Wiki link at the top of the page which apparently neither of us read:

        It thrives at water temperatures between 25 and 42 °C (77 and 117 °F), with an optimum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F).[9] Sources where temperatures allow the bacteria to thrive include hot-water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems, such as those commonly found in hotels and large office buildings.

  8. I slipped on a spilled drink today. There was Ice on the floor. My question is this: Can I sue all governments for my injuries (extensive) for what is obviously related to climate Change? /s
    But I’m seeing that the poor countries wants to sue the Rich. Could be an interesting challenge.

  9. No idea about the reasons. Many things have changed. One of them being more air-conditioning units without CFCs.

  10. Another example of the “fact” that AGW only causes things that are harmful. As Eric rightly says, there has been no warming for 18+ years, so how can all these supposedly climate related evils continue to plague mankind?

    • An even better explanation is fraudulent reporting of data…..if they are willing to say it’s warmer and more stormy when it isn’t, why believe anything else that’s said

  11. The number of, and stupidity of Warmist claims has been increasing day by day. Must be due to “climate change”.
    Or, it could be the upcoming gabfest in Paris. Hard to decide.

  12. As I understand legionnaires disease, damp dirty air filters, in buildings that recirculate air through damp dirty filters with neglected air-conditioning. So climate change makes for less maintenance of AC units?

    • Climate change regulations that make everyone poorer, certainly would cut down on the amount of maintenance being done.

  13. If you want to have some fun, ask a climate change alarmist to provide an example of some unfortunate event that is not attributable to “climate change.” They are hard wired to blame everything bad on anthropogenic CO2.

    • . . . and unfortunately, by re-posting this drivel out of the mouths of desperation HERE, we’re giving it life, legs, and exposure, if only to derision. Better to let it die a natural death in 3 seconds or less without keeping it going!

      • I strongly disagree.
        The more of this palpably awful crap that makes it into the funny papers, the better.
        Fewer and fewer people seem to believe this stuff.

  14. In my opinion, we must be careful not to appear to be saying or implying that natural “Climate Change” doesn’t affect anything.
    I believe we could list a long number of things that actually do happen during a period of either prolonged warming or cooling. Just one example – the migratory patterns of birds change.
    In this discussion, what has the local climate in the areas of recent Legionnaires disease been doing? Even though, globally the trend has been flat doesn’t mean that in some regions there hasn’t been either a cooling or warming trend.
    Just sayin’.

    • “Just one example – the migratory patterns of birds change.”
      John, you just cited the actual cause from my experience. When I maintained the SIU East St. Louis center which was a converted 1920 era hotel, the ancient cooling tower for the air conditioning was my biggest liability concern (next to asbestos) due to the number of birds (mostly pigeons which roosted there and sought the warmth from it during cool nights of early and late cooling seasons. The droppings in the coolant water are what spreads the legionella and infects the system. Daily checks of chlorine levels showed that massive doses were being oxidized and sanitation was ineffective within 24 hours. The state water survey suggested that I switch to bromine to extend the effective sanitation and urged the university to replace the tower and relocate it in an area where the building occupants could not be exposed to the mist from it
      As urban sprawl increases, birds are among the first creatures to adapt and use the buildings for shelter and warmth. Pigeons do better in the city than rural areas, as do english sparrows.
      The university had to install screens in the air intakes of the campus buildings due to sparrows literally clogging the spaces in the brick grillwork, causing a critical risk of airborne disease.
      Any water which contains fecal droppings is at risk of spreading aspirated respiratory disease causing agents, even using rain barrels to spray water on the garden after droppings are washed from the roof.

      • Could I suggest poison or bullets? Very un-PC. Like suggesting human lives come before those of pigeons and sparrows.

      • Excellent comment, Dawtgtomis. I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head:
        “Any water which contains fecal droppings is at risk of spreading aspirated respiratory disease causing agents.”

      • Tim
        September 6, 2015 at 8:54 am
        Shooting or poisoning all pigeons (Rock Dove) and/or (House) sparrows might introduce new problems, and would be difficult in any case.
        An alternative approach might include better cooling tower designs, better maintenance, some deterent to pigeons/sparrows roosting around these structures, like noise, or fake owls, construction of attractive roosts/environments for these birds to lure them away from city centers, and prohibition of feeding these birds, which seems to entertain some folks. ‘More than one way to skin a cat, and speaking of cats…
        Peregrine Falcons, and Cooper’s Hawks & Red Tail Hawks have been moving into urban environments, presumably to take advantage of the abundant pigeon populations in most cities, but I suggest these raptors aren’t making much of a dent in pigeon numbers.
        It’s an interesting problem, and like all problems, a solution is out there. Too bad some of our brighter minds have had to spend waste so much time and energy on the non-problem of CAGW.
        Climate change happens, but CAGW doesn’t.

  15. Now that we are in the world of ” Idiocracy “, if the warmistas can ever convince men that climate change is deterring their ability to maintain an erection or causing thinning hair, they will definitely win the propaganda war. Have not seen any such studies yet but they’re probably out there. Then all they need to do is convince women that climate change is making then fat and wrinkled and game over.

    • Gave myself an idea! We need a study that shows that CO2 helps maintain erections, replaces thinning hair, helps women lose weight and fights wrinkles. We win! We should be able to gin up a study like that and pay some guys to ” peer review ” it. Willis, you listening?

    • Love your form of government moniker. Idiocracy. Now that would be a constitution worthy of Saturday Night Live and Monty Python. Hilarious! And also worrisome. At one time the US was a Republic. Under Bill Clinton he must have miss-read the word and thought it was a Repubic Party. Obama didn’t even bother to miss-read the word. It has been changed under the Obama administration into an Idiocracy.
      Let us hope that saner, serious minds return it to what it once was, a true Republic where individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the constitutional bedrock of all Legislative, Executive and Judicial actions. One in which the buck stops not in these three branches, nor on any belief or bible, but at the feet of the constitution.

      • Pamela,
        “Let us hope that saner, serious minds return it to what it once was, a true Republic where individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the constitutional bedrock of all Legislative, Executive and Judicial actions.”
        Never really has been, but has been much closer in the past, I believe. Not much hope for it getting back to that as we now have TV. And you really need to watch ” Idiocracy “, as it is a really funny movie and unfortunately apparently prophetic.

      • Peter,
        You and Marcus and Tom in FL have given me another idea. Tom said “ROTFLMAO” which got me thinking about the most common affliction in my age group, let’s say 55 to 75. I was at a barbecue the other night with a bunch of guys and gals in this crowd and all of us guys have OMDAS, old man disappearing ass syndrome, where our ass dissipates no matter how hard we exercise and our gut grows, even without rolling on the floor. Now this is a much more common affliction than legionaire’s disease. How about a study that shows that CO2, that’s got electrolytes, reverses this process? What do you think, great idea, huh?

  16. Lordy. Just about every disease, condition, and human trait known has now been connected to climate change. What should be of interest are the few diseases, conditions, and human traits that apparently are verboten from reference to climate change.

    • Humans are omnivores like most primates. The odd unnatural condition is being a human herbivore. Therefore…climate change.

      • Exactly right. The evolution of modern humans and increased brain size coincided with increased consumption of protein. A completely veggie diet with no vitamin B-12 supplementation would kill you. And a cursory comparison of the morphology of the human alimentary canal with that of a herbivore should make obvious the fact that humans are not herbivores. A cow has multiple stomachs, eats all the time and regurgitates its food to re chew its cud in order to live off the meager nutrition available in its grasses..Humans can go days without eating with no ill effect.

      • Babies that have been fed a strict vegetarian diet suffer from brain malformations and some have even died. It’s not just the B-12, babies need fat in their diet in order for proper nerve development.

      • There is good evidence that the hunter-gatherer diet promotes healthy joints, as well as good teeth:
        • Moose Offer Clues to the Cause of Arthritis in Humans
        “This link between arthritis and early nutritional health may explain the anthropological observation that arthritis became more prevalent in native Americans as their diet become poorer – the result of relying more on corn and agriculture and less on hunting and gathering.”
        http://isleroyalewolf.org/node/39
        • Our Ancestors Had Much Better Teeth
        “Mesolithic hunter-gatherers living on a meat-dominated, grain-free diet had much healthier mouths that we have today, with almost no cavities and gum disease-associated bacteria, a genetic study of ancient dental plaque has revealed.”
        http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/ancestors-had-much-better-teeth-130219.htm
        •Sequencing ancient calcified dental plaque shows changes in oral microbiota with dietary shifts of the Neolithic and Industrial revolutions
        “The importance of commensal microbes for human health is increasingly recognized, yet the impacts of evolutionary changes in human diet and culture on commensal microbiota remain almost unknown. Two of the greatest dietary shifts in human evolution involved the adoption of carbohydrate-rich Neolithic (farming) diets, (beginning ~10,000 years before the present) and the more recent advent of industrially processed flour and sugar (in ~1850). Here, we show that calcified dental plaque (dental calculus) on ancient teeth preserves a detailed genetic record throughout this period. Data from 34 early European skeletons indicate that the transition from hunter-gatherer to farming shifted the oral microbial community to a disease-associated configuration.”
        http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v45/n4/full/ng.2536.html

      • @mike jonas
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7965456
        Abstract
        Fat is necessary in the diets of infants and young children because of their extraordinary energy needs and limited dietary capacity. In addition, essential fatty acids provide the substrates for arachidonic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and their metabolites. Deficiencies in the amounts of these long-chain fatty acids in the diet during infancy may affect the maturation of the central nervous system, including visual development and intelligence…

      • “Death by Veganism – WHEN Crown Shakur died of starvation, he was 6 weeks old and weighed 3.5 pounds. His vegan parents, who fed him mainly soy milk and apple juice, were convicted in Atlanta recently of murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty…………………………a vegan diet may lack vitamin B12, found only in animal foods; usable vitamins A and D, found in meat, fish, eggs and butter; and necessary minerals like calcium and zinc. When babies are deprived of all these nutrients, they will suffer from retarded growth, rickets and nerve damage..”
        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/21/opinion/21planck.html

      • TO:
        Mike Jonas September 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm
        MarkW – please can you provide a link to the baby diet info.
        The link you are looking for is simply Pamela Gray. Breast feeding.

      • RD,
        The human diet that led to increased brain size was of more animal fat, not protein. The increased protein helped in many ways, but the key human adaptation was using the hand ax to break the bones of big animals to extract the marrow, which fat fueled our brain expansion.

      • @sturgeous hooper
        Sure. Thanks for pointing that out. I’m more familiar human biochemistry than anthropology. I meant meat w/protein and fats. No doubt marrow is superior nutritionally. Brains got bigger and jaws and guts smaller. Brains require lots of energy 24/7, some 20 times more than other organs. Plants alone won’t do it.

      • With regards to the shrinking of the gut, which is second most energy intensive organ in the body, you can also credit the taming of fire, which made foods (both animal and vegetable) easier to digest.

      • “John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.
        […]
        He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc
        […]
        theories as to why the human brain is shrinking are all over the map.
        […]
        “You may not want to hear this,” says cognitive scientist David Geary of the University of Missouri, “but I think the best explanation for the decline in our brain size is the idiocracy theory.”
        […]
        As complex societies emerged, the brain became smaller because people did not have to be as smart to stay alive…. individuals who would not have been able to survive by their wits alone could scrape by with the help of others—supported, as it were, by the first social safety nets.

        http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking#.US_xYDeCpYE

      • Thanks Steve P. Check this article out. There’s lots of news on it a few years back.
        Stature and robusticity during the agricultural transition: evidence from the bioarchaeological record.
        Abstract
        The population explosion that followed the Neolithic revolution was initially explained by improved health experiences for agriculturalists. However, empirical studies of societies shifting subsistence from foraging to primary food production have found evidence for deteriorating health from an increase in infectious and dental disease and a rise in nutritional deficiencies…
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507735

      • RD
        September 6, 2015 at 8:21 pm
        And brains of course, along with marrow and other fat sources.
        Neanderthals got a lot of the fat for their own brains from eating the brains of other Neanderthals.

  17. Other dangers of contracting this disease: hot spas and potting mix.
    I need his research on these variables.
    (Particularly on people who have jumped into a hot spa after recently potting plants)

  18. Not as effective as all those “folks” with “kids” enduring “asthma”. Still, I suppose you need B features and sideshows to bulk out the production for Paris.
    That’s all, “folks”.

  19. You people need to learn to read more better. Legionella was originally linked to water cooled AC systems. IOW, rooftop cooling towers. Everything to this point still supports that.
    Seems to me that the occupants of the building arent the only ones at risk, rather those in close proximity. Occupant perhaps because of fresh air exchange ducts also on the roof?
    And what about swamp cooler use in the southwest? These are nothing but giant humidifier systems, and I would bet the difference is in the temperature of the water in the recirculating pool.
    But safe to say it aint Gorebull Warmening

    • You are correct: Legionella is associated with water cooled AC systems. And residential AC systems rarely use water cooling. In fact, I don’t recall ever seeing a water cooled residential AC system.
      If I had to guess, I’d attribute the rise in Legionnaires case to poor maintenance of older industrial water cooled AC systems

    • Agreed the bacteria enters the human body as a result of breathing in contaminated water mist emanating from cooling towers. The answer is routine maintenance and disinfection. The droplets have to be tiny for the bacteria to penetrate far enough into the lung to allow the bacteria to become the source of the illness. Can’t see how climate change could affect the maintenance, or lack thereof, of cooling towers in any meaningful way. By definition cooling towers are warm and humid when in operation.
      There have also been instances of infection outbreaks being linked to shower heads also. So people being warmer and sweatier leads to more frequent showering ? Seems like a real stretch to me especially as there hasn’t been any warming for close to 2 decades now.

      • Please see comment from Dawtgtomis
        September 6, 2015 at 8:06 am
        Thanks for mentioning the shower heads. I recall hearing about this several years back, being concerned for awhile, and then filing it away in some part of my noggin where it was promptly forgotten.
        “Well, this an infection with a certain type of bacteria […]U.S. Doctors say they’re seeing a spike, especially in women around age 50 who are slim, Caucasian and otherwise in good health[…] Dr. Yang says NTM is usually harmless to healthy individuals, but not everyone agrees.
        Professor Norman Pace and his students at University of Colorado-Boulder spearheaded a recent study that found 30 percent of shower heads harbor significant levels of disease-causing bacteria.
        […]
        To reduce bacteria exposure, experts recommend running very hot water through your pipes for a few minutes and soaking your shower head regularly in a bacteria-killing agent and occasionaly replacing your showerhead.”

        http://abc7.com/archive/8674755/

      • The dental profession has switched to sterile water for oral irrigation due to the risks of aspirated bacteria. We sent in samples from our university dental clinic chairs on a regular basis to the state and sanitized the equip when we got colonies showing up in samples. I was also the end user verifier of chlorine content in the city water to that section of town as the dental school had a large “house system” at the end of a main.

      • In some desert cities in California’s Coachella Valley, and probably elsewhere too, public over-the-sidewalk misting systems are used to cool customers & pedestrians passing by. Based on what I’ve been reading, and comments by Dawt and others, I’m wondering now if these misting gadgets present a public health hazard, although not related to Legionaires’ Disease.
        If I understand what I’m reading, bacteria such as Mycobacterium avium may form a biofilm on water pipes:
        “When the researchers tested the aerosols created by running the showers, they found that the aerosols contained microbes representative of the water being fed into the shower, rather than the microbes living inside the shower head.
        Mycobacteria were only identified in public water system-fed shower heads, and not in well-water-fed shower heads. The researchers thought this could be because mycobacteria are resistant to chlorine that is used to treat public water sources.”

        http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/09September/Pages/Showerheadsandlungdisease.aspx

      • There is a trend for owners of hot water heaters to turn down the heat below 120F to minimize the danger of scalding and to save energy. However, you can safely maintain the hot water heater above 140 F by using a thermostatic mixing valve.

  20. I would suggest it is more prudent to launch an informational drive to educate those who operate the systems at risk, just like the one which followed the original outbreak of legionella, than to throw up ones hands and say “must be climate change”.
    There is a new generation of people in the field now, and in order to cut costs, less people are maintaining more systems than ever, with less qualifications and licensing than the previous workers, who had to be paid more. This in itself is capable of explaining the increases.
    There is nothing happening here that education and proactive maintenance cannot cure.

  21. Because correlation (rise in the disease correlated to my perception about average temperature un the U.S., despite the fact actual data does not support my perception) implies causation.

  22. A dear friend of mine (yes, I actually do have some and they are actually humanoids) retired last year. Since I quasi-retired some time ago neither of us now have anything to do. Years ago, whilst working, we’d meet at bars after work. Now, due to restricted retirement income, and bodies that have matured (although to have matured is a polite way to describe decrepitude) we meet in the morning for coffee.
    A few days ago I texted him: ‘Coffee 8:00?’ He returned the text stating he wasn’t feeling well. (See, I’m finally weaving this story into a post on disease.) Anyway, he texts me the following morning asking about meeting me for coffee.
    So, I meet him. He clearly looks under the weather. (See, climate is now being woven in.) He told me he had to get out of the house. You see, his 90 year mother in law lives with them. Now, this is where it gets interesting.
    First, I have to say that I’m 61 years old. That means that people who actually admit to being friends with me tend to be the same age. And, this particular friend of mine is also 61 years old.
    So, he’s 61 years old, he’s sick, his 90 year old mother in law lives with them, and he’s met me because he has to get out of the house. Why?
    His mother in law wants to take his temperature.
    Needless to say, he won’t let her. Pride is a powerful thing. But, she’s persistent. She negotiates; “Well, just let me feel your forehead.”
    “No.”
    Now, I’m a nice guy. But, I’m really toying with the idea of going over there and suggesting to his mother in law (who I know and get along with) that the only way to get a true reading (whether I’m right on this or not) of body temperature is rectally.
    Yes, it’s taking incredible willpower not to promote the ultimate joke of all time: encouraging a mother in law to take a rectal temperature sample from her sick 61 year old son in law.
    But, I won’t do it. You see, that’s what separates me from Dr. Fisman. Let’s look at it this way. My friend has helped me out many times in the past. He’s paid for things and lent me money. Consider him to be representative of the good citizen and a taxpayer. Consider his mother in law as the government (that should not be hard to do). Now, consider me as the good doctor; ready to take that mother in law and have her stick it up the taxpayer’s …

  23. I love pictures taken with electron microscopes. You can describe anything you like, and nobody will ever know the difference. Consider the picture above, and alternate captions.
    Radial dendritic growth in cyanobacteria. the dendrite formation is clearly visible.
    The rapid production of chloroplasts in a typical C4 plant under intense lighting conditions.
    The smooth surface of slaked lime after heat treatment. This hard, smooth surface is responsible for the reduced kinetics of slaked lime vs. quicklime.
    How do you know what you are really looking at?
    Global Warming has ruined my mind forever.

  24. Off topic, but I have just seen on the BBC News website that the UK spends £11bn p.a. on overseas aid. Incredibly, it says ‘Globally, on schemes aimed at immunising children, providing girls and women with better education and preventing climate change in developing countries’.
    Mustn’t forget the Bogeyman.

  25. The good Dr Fisman could just be suffering from a bad case of Climatosis, or perhaps Jumpingtoconclusions Disease, which are seemingly rampant among those in the Climate Industry. He might want to get that checked out.

  26. The title of the epidemiological study Fisman references is “It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity: Wet Weather Increases Legionellosis Risk in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area” it can be found at
    http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/content/192/12/2066.full
    Not a promising title if one wants to link it to warming alone. The biological literature is mixed on the link between legionella infection and temperature. Fields at al. summarize “L. pneumophila multiplies at temperatures between 25 and 42°C, with an optimal growth temperature of 35°C. Most cases of legionellosis can be traced to human-made aquatic environments where the water temperature is higher than ambient temperature.” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC118082/)
    But it is not that simple. Early studies on growth rate of legionella found at Ratkowsky et. al. http://jb.asm.org/content/149/1/1.full.pdf indicating a general behavior of growth rate for bacteria of sqrt ( r ) = b(T-T0) where r is the exponential growth rate in time, b is a constant and T is temperature.
    But growth rate is not the whole story. Edelstein et. al. found that legionella virulence is decreased by higher growth temperatures (they compared 25C and 41C) at http://iai.asm.org/content/55/11/2701.full.pdf .
    As usual with microbiology, the reality is somewhat more complicated than first glance. The huge leap comment may have been a Freudian slip.

    • No, sequestered because you are a veteran and the US Gov’t has decreed that veterans pose a risk of becoming domestic terrorists against the government. Dept. of Homeland Security has thus classified you and me et al, as being likely to team up with Right Wing terrorist groups.
      Don’t know how they could come to that conclusion.
      Get your kicks on Route .30-06

  27. You see. Legionnaires increases even with a very small temperature increase, so think what would happen when the temperature increases as predicted. !!

  28. When are some “scientists” going to release a study showing that deaths from freezing and cases of frostbite are decreasing because of global warming?

    • Wrong Louis. Global warming causes more cold weather. That’s why it’s now called climate change, so we can blame CO2 emissions when (or if) the climate starts to cool. Yes, believe it or not, making the earth warmer will make it colder. Hard to believe unless you’ve studied climate science where things are not what they seem.

  29. Given the fact that temperatures have actually been falling in the continental US in recent years, it’s quite a stretch to claim that global warming has anything to do with the increase in legionnaires disease. Unless you want to include the fact that the costs associated with climate taxes and regulations have left businesses with less money to properly maintain their AC systems.

  30. I hear Yeti sightings are up. It would not be a huge leap to suggest it’s due in part to climate change.

  31. a professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto,
    Can someone tell what the qualifications are to become a professor, are there any?

  32. Legionairs disease can also exist in hot water systems. People who have solar heaters often do not switch on the geyser element to save money and use the hot water when it is warm – not hot. Water below 55 degrees celsius can be a breeding ground for legionairs. Perhaps the proliferation of solar water heaters is playing a part? Thermostats on geysers should be set at just above 55 degrees centigrade to ensure the bacteria are killed.

    • Reminds me of another Eco-friendly good intentions-bad results project. A community in New England decided they were going to use recycled materials when building a 10 mile long beautiful bike path. They used asphalt made from recycled glass.
      Wonderful until after a year or so of wear the glass in the asphalt was damaging bicycle tires. Wasn’t too good for skinned knees either. They had to dig up the bike path and repaved with traditional asphalt. To add insult to injury traditional asphalt would have been cheaper than the recycled stuff.

  33. My experience of this matter, is it could just be that the incidence is increasing because building service engineers have taken their eye off the ball!
    Just before I retired I pointed out to my professional colleagues, that a new engineering fashion for “energy efficient” evaporative water cooling, of various types, would require high standards of engineering design and a rigid expensive maintenance regime to ensure safety. There appeared to be a standards gap, these new systems were not listed or detailed in existing Safety Guidance, I suggested the Guidance should be updated to include these new designs.
    To my knowledge no such updating has taken place.

  34. I am still waiting for the paper to be published that claims that climate change increases the risk of heat rash.

  35. What the heck, let’s just call it what it is:
    Given there’s been no change in global temperature for over 18 years, Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto’s Dr Fisman is living proof that lack of anthropogenic global warming (or any other kind) has turned a significant portion of the world’s academics into stupid blithering fools who cravenly prostitute their “academic research” for “climate change” dollars (euros, rupies, whatever).
    I’ve been watching this con game for almost 10 years and am amazed it’s still profitable.

  36. I predicted this was coming when I saw LD in the news. Well, you can’t really call such things predictions anymore, since now *everything* bad is always linked to Climate Change.

  37. The only thing “Climate Change “might” have caused is delusional paranoia where almost every observed event is caused by Climate Change. A variation on must be “Satans work”.
    Or more likely laziness. Why work harder to figure out what is causing an observed behavior or event when you can just claim Climate Change and collect a bigger check .

  38. I’ve done original research on the pathogen Legionella pneumophila and its environmental transmission with a major US medical school, allow me to provide a bit more information:
    a) When the first widely recognized outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease occurred in 1976, public health scientists were baffled and presumed that this was a new, previously unseen organism.
    b) It was, in fact, an old pathogen that had infected and killed many people throughout history, but was not recognized as the cause of death. L. pneumophila is notoriously difficult to culture, and was proven to grow only on a very selective growth medium (“charcoal + yeast extract agar”).
    c) Once it became possible to culture the bacterium, we found that many frozen tissue samples from patients who had died from “pneumonia, cause not specified” had, in fact, died of Legionnaire’s Disease. It is a rather common cause of pneumonia in the community, and the organism can be cultured from fountains, shower heads, ponds, wastewater treatment plants etc.
    That being said, it is not being spread by household air conditioners, but by large, roof-top cooling towers that generate substantial aerosols. Owners of cooling towers are supposed to maintain them and add antimicrobial chemicals to prevent these types of outbreaks, but we had a breakdown of the regulatory system in NYC. Also, the susceptible population probably had many risk factors including poor health, older age etc.
    Here’s a rather tragic story about a case that occurred in Chicago due to a decorative lobby fountain in a hotel: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-31/news/chi-3rd-death-tied-to-chicago-legionnaires-outbreak-20120831_1_legionella-3rd-death-disease
    IF the climate is growing warmer, then increased transmission of Legionella pneumophila is possible since water temperatures would increase, more cooling towers would be needed, etc. It all depends upon the big “if.”

    • CRS, DrPH

      That being said, it is not being spread by household air conditioners, but by large, roof-top cooling towers that generate substantial aerosols. Owners of cooling towers are supposed to maintain them and add antimicrobial chemicals to prevent these types of outbreaks, but we had a breakdown of the regulatory system in NYC.

      So, Legionaries Disease is a “real phenomena” breeding in the wet, kept-warm waters of roof top AC units, but it does not get transmitted by being blown through the interior cooled air ducts, but by being blown/uplifted from the outside water in and under the cooling fins of the next building over. Right?

      • Correct, the environmental transmission of Legionnaire’s Disease (two “n”s) is a real phenomena, and the cooling tower trade has long recognized this. Companies such as Ecolab/Nalco sell antibacterial treatment chemicals and monitoring equipment/test kits so that owners can reduce this threat. However, if there are no real regulations, then these type of outbreaks occur.
        It get transmitted in the water aerosol, period. Wherever the aerosol goes, the bacteria also go. Very fine mist or even dried bacterial gels become “bioaerosols,” much hated in hospitals due to risk to immune compromised patients.
        What happened in NYC is that a “perfect storm” developed. Weather was warm enough to spur the growth of L. pneumophila, commercial HVAC units were pushed, and there was probably a weather inversion that trapped the aerosol close to the ground. A + B + C, and throw in a generally unhealthy population (older, smoking etc.) and this stuff happens. Epidemiology 101.
        For what it is worth, the CDC believes that the climate is changing (growing warmer) and this will have deleterious health effects. http://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/brace.htm

  39. CRS, DrPH , thanks for your informative posts here. You say,
    “It was, in fact, an old pathogen that had infected and killed many people throughout history”,
    Obviously, there are other potential reservoirs of L. pneumophila, as you note. Wikipedia sez this bacterium maintains symbiotic relationship with aquatic amoebae. I gather that any airborne mist or aerosol is a potentially dangerous when arising from reservoirs where water temperatures are in the range 25- 42 ° C (77 and 117 °F.)
    I’m wondering now if there is any relationship between L. pneumophilia, amoebae in symbiotic relationship with same, and pigeon droppings. Can you comment?

  40. Update: Climate change actually increases risk of NY plumbing neglect which then leads to disease and claims of a climate change role, followed by academic advancement.

  41. thanks Eric Worrall.
    And no one sees
    ‘This year the disease has
    broken out at a western
    Illinois veterans home, at San
    Quentin State Prison near
    San Francisco and in New
    York City, which has seen a
    similar rise in the disease.’
    that’s all persons reduced to sheer existance, dismantled of personal responsibility.
    New York City, Washington the Base of endemic diseases growing pandemic.
    By lack of resources?
    chocking prevents laughing.
    Hans

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