Biofilms & Hot Tubs: What You Don’t Know May Kill You

The Silent Role of Biofilms in Chronic Disease Forums Biofilm Community The Human Ecosystem Biofilms & Hot Tubs: What You Don’t Know May Kill You

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        Bear in mind that this study was based on a culture-based diagnosis, which only finds a very limited number of all known bacterial pathogens (up to 5%). That said, this is a wake up call for so many different professionals in the environmental, industrial hygiene and medical areas.

        Question to our Austrian friends: if the therapy was “adequate,” why was is it not successful? How tragic and sad!

        Infection. 2011 Apr 1. [Epub ahead of print]
        Fatal Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia in a previously healthy woman was most likely associated with a contaminated hot tub.
        Huhulescu S, Simon M, Lubnow M, Kaase M, Wewalka G, Pietzka AT, Stöger A, Ruppitsch W, Allerberger F.

        Community-acquired pneumonia due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa in previously healthy individuals is a rare disease that is associated with high fatality. On 14 February 2010 a previously healthy 49-year-old woman presented to an emergency room with signs and symptoms of pneumonia, 2 days after returning from a spa holiday in a wellness hotel.

        Blood cultures and respiratory specimens grew P. aeruginosa. Despite adequate antimicrobial therapy, the patient died of septic multiorgan failure on day nine of hospitalization. On February 26, nine water samples were taken from the hotel facilities used by the patient: In the hot tub sample 37,000 colony-forming units of P. aeruginosa/100 ml were detected. Two of five individual colonies from the primary plate used for this hot tub water sample were found to be genetically closely related to the patients’ isolates. Results from PFGE, AFLP and MLST analysis allowed the two lung isolates gained at autopsy and the whirlpool bathtub isolates to be allocated into one cluster.

        The patient most likely acquired P. aeruginosa from the contaminated water in the hotel’s hot tub. The detection of P. aeruginosa in high numbers in a hot tub indicates massive biofilm formation in the bath circulation and severe deficiencies in hygienic maintenance. The increasing popularity of hot tubs in hotels and private homes demands increased awareness about potential health risks associated with deficient hygienic maintenance.

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