CDC: Campfire smoke is unlikely to spread Legionnaires’ disease, and cleaning equipment won’t help

Following a CDC report that one camp in the Swiss Alps may have facilitated the spread of toxic carbon monoxide to at least half of its campers, a spokesman told reporters that the agency…

CDC: Campfire smoke is unlikely to spread Legionnaires’ disease, and cleaning equipment won’t help

Following a CDC report that one camp in the Swiss Alps may have facilitated the spread of toxic carbon monoxide to at least half of its campers, a spokesman told reporters that the agency had found almost no evidence of bacterial and viral transmission through camp cooking facilities, where campers were using propane stoves.

“Following the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Switzerland this summer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that almost no evidence of bacterial or viral transmission between campers by using propane cookstoves was found in its investigations,” said Stephan Monroe, the agency’s director of environmental health. “Campers, camp staff, and volunteers were housed in the same buildings. Only an isolated exposure to carbon monoxide can result in an acute disease such as Legionnaires’. Any intentional actions not intended to help the campers and staff recover from acute illness would not be tolerated by the CDC.”

The two camps contained 1,200 to 1,400 campers, while the Switzerland camp reported that their deaths were the result of one outbreak related to cooking, while the U.S. camp reported the spread of both disease by faulty water pumps. Officials had conducted “careful microbiological and epidemiological sampling and testing” at the Swiss camp, at which three people died, and “were able to determine from lab results that there was no bacterial or viral transmission” due to the fire pits, the spokesman said.

“Bacterial and viral transmission is still possible if people are close enough to contaminated food, equipment, and mist streams to breathe in the water vapor containing other bacteria and viruses,” Monroe added. “CDC recommends that people enjoy outdoor recreation safely by conducting regular testing of their water vapor and water equipment, drinking clean water, and covering any faucets or firepits that produce foam.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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