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Deadly Legionnaires’ Bacteria Reside in Car Windshield Cleaning Fluid

Washing fluid

Washing fluid The fluid can carry the bacterium responsible for Legionnaires’ disease. Image credit: Hamedog via Wikimedia Commons.

It is well known that the fluid is thought to carry the bacterium blamed for Legionnaires’ disease. Even the fluid used for your car windshield cleaning is related with such disease.

According to the latest study, the windshield washing fluid can harbor the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, which is kind of so severe pneumonia that it makes 18,000 to be hospitalized annually. Scientists have found a relationship between Legionnaires’ and driving a car; however they have no idea of the real reason. The fluid might the cause for it.

The research result was released in May at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology; it was found by the scientists that 75 percent of washing fluid from school buses in central Arizona harbored different kinds of the Legionella bacteria responsible for the disease.

As Otto Schwake, a Ph.D. student of microbiology at ArizonaStateUniversity in Tempe and the leading member of research group said, washer fluid was characteristic of the potentially dangerous source that Legionella exposure needed. When it was aerosolized and heated, people would be exposed on a regular basis. The study of Otto Schwake and his group was helpful in the support of previous epidemiological evidence that there was a clear a link between automobiles and Legionnaires’ disease.

When Legionella bacteria are dispersed in the air and inhaled, they can cause the disease. The name of disease originated from an outbreak at a meeting of the American Legion in 1976.

Although not so many people would be infected when exposed to the pathogen, the elderly and smokers as well as those with compromised immune systems would get infected easily.

It is demonstrated that if the fluid is mixed with antifreeze, the bacteria can be killed. However, Schwake said whether it was a good idea had to be confirmed from further research in this regard, because increased exposure to antifreeze would be also harmful at certain levels and might decrease the  benefits of killing these microbes at the same time.

Source: Popular Science

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