Thursday 14 April 2011

Medical: Legionnaires' Disease @ QE

House (Hugh Laurie) is worried when Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) shows symptoms
similar to those of a patient they are currently treating
Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/FOX.
Time for some medical knowledge! A news reported a confirmed case of Legionnaires' Disease (LD) ) involving an 81-year-old woman admitted to Queen Mary Hospital[1]. Since LD is a potentially fatal bacterial infectious disease[2], it is good to learn a little about it.

Image from polite dissent
According to Wikipedia,
"Legionnaires' disease acquired its name in July 1976 when an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending a convention of the American Legion (a veterans organization of the United States armed forces.) at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. On January 18, 1977 the causative agent was identified as a previously unknown bacterium, subsequently named Legionella. Some people can be infected with the Legionella bacterium and have only mild symptoms or no illness at all."[2]

Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) searches a patient's
home for clues
Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/FOX.
Water is the main source of Legionella pneumophila, thus any contaminated water sources could be suitable for the bacteria to thrive, such as...
  1. cooling towers used in industrial cooling water systems, 
  2. large central air conditioning systems, 
  3. evaporative coolers, 
  4. hot water systems, 
  5. showers, 
  6. windshield washers, 
  7. whirlpool spas, 
  8. architectural fountains,
  9.  room-air humidifiers, 
  10. ice making machines, 
  11. misting equipment, 
  12. hot tub, 
  13. freshwater ponds, creeks, and ornamental fountains,
  14. hotels, fountains, cruise ships and hospitals with old, poorly maintained pipework and cooling systems.
LD is then transmitted through breathing in fine particles in the air which contains L. pneumophila.

House shoots a corpse at close range
with a bullet similar to the one in Joe in
the morgue
Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/FOX.
Legionnaires' Disease gave me a very strong impression as it came up in 2 thrilling episodes of House M.D. (Season 2 Episode 20 & 21). In this episode, a cop named Joe contracted LD from a dirty air conditioning unit as well as an unknown disease and died before House and the team could rescue him, Dr. Foreman who was assigned to search the patient's home also contracted the same unknown disease but his health was deteriorating much faster than Joe's. House decided that Foreman was too healthy as Joe was originally a carrier of LD, so House purposely exposed Foreman with Legionella in order to slow him from dying quickly, thus buying more time for the rest of the team to diagnose Foreman. If you haven't watched these episodes, MUST WATCH!!!!

I've found 2 links here, but not sure if it is usable, maybe you can try and then tell me.

Watching TV can really learn a lot of practical knowledge!

thrilling -- (adj) extremely exciting
contract -- (vb) [T] slightly formal to catch or become ill with a disease
deteriorate -- (vb) [I] to become worse
diagnose -- (vb) [T] to recognize and name the exact character of a disease or a problem, by examining it
morgue -- (n) [C] mainly US for mortuary (= place where dead bodies are kept)

[1] Update on CHP's investigation into Legionnaires' Disease case

[2] Legionellosis @ Wikipedia

American Legion @ Wikipedia

Legionella pneumophila @ Wikipedia

TV Drama: House with Medical Terms @ Locky's English Playground

House MD Episode Guide: Season Two #220 "Euphoria Part 1" @ House M.D. Guide to the TV show

House – Episode 20 (Season 2): “Euphoria (part one)”@ Polite Dissent

House Season 2 Episode 20 -- Watch House Episode

House Season 2 Episode 21 -- Watch House Episode