Why Italy wants to increase its population
8. The role of legionella
Bacteria of the legionella genus multiply in (drinking) water pipes that have been idle for a long time or in certain components of air conditioning systems. If they get into the lungs while showering, for example, they can cause so-called Legionnaires' disease with flu-like symptoms in immunocompromised people and even lead to death.
An online specialist magazine for pharmacists reported that in 2018 hundreds of people in the province of Brescia (Lombardy region) suffered from an initially mysterious lung disease, which was ultimately due to Legionella infections. Evaporative cooling systems that had drawn their water from a polluted river were identified as the source of infection. Reports on this can also be found on the Italian-language Internet.
Would it be conceivable that hygiene problems with water pipes in Italy led to an increased level of Legionella and that some COVID-19 patients were additionally weakened as a result? So far there is no reliable scientific evidence for this. The thought remains speculation for the time being. It is true, however, that lungs damaged by COVID-19 are susceptible to so-called secondary bacterial infections, including those with Legionella.
Another connection, to which experts are now increasingly pointing out, is also noteworthy. In buildings that have not been used for weeks due to the corona lockdown, the risk of Legionella infections is currently increasing if the water pipes in them are not flushed every few days or air conditioning systems are not checked and maintained.
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