'Legionnaires’ disease may be lurking in nebulizers'
Health Ministry warns bacteria found in water at room temperature and used in cold-mist and warm-mist nebulizers.
The Health Ministry in Jerusalem Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
The Health Ministry has issued an alert about Legionnaires’ disease or
legionellosis can also lurk in nebulizers used to treat congested nasal cavities
and bronchial tubes by spraying liquids that have been broken down into
People who have heard of the disease generally associate it with
air-conditioning systems, as the first case was disclosed in 1976 at a
Philadelphia hotel where members of the American Legion who gathered fell victim to the unknown
But today, the potentially deadly bacteria have also been
found to breed in jacuzzis, architectural fountains, ice-making machines,
evaporating coolers and even windshield-wiper systems.
The ministry noted
however that they do not spread through drinking water.
The bacteria have
been found in water that is at room temperature and used in cold-mist and
warm-mist nebulizers. Recently, there have been reports in Israel and abroad of
cases of babies and children infected with Legionnaires’ disease from these
nebulizers, and adults can be infected from them. The ministry advised that when
nebulizers are used, they should be emptied once a day, wiped clean, dried and
filled with boiled water that has been cooled before use. Once a week, the
inside of the device should be cleaned with an “appropriate cleaner.” Once per
season, the device should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before being stored
away; the process should be repeated before the device is used again.