What we can’t see can hurt us. Every year, thousands of miles of decaying pipes bring water into homes across America. These pipes bring in more than water, as studies now indicate that drug-resistant bacteria also lurks in piping. These bacteria can thrive in trace amounts of nutrients found in water, therefore making pipes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that are now resistant to antibiotics. Here are five of the numerous dangerous diseases that may be hiding in your piping:
Legionnaire’s is a deadly disease that kills between 5 and 30% of those who contract it and, in 2015, was linked to 10 fatalities in Flint, Michigan. (Flint has made news for severe water contamination from pipe corrosion.) Legionella (the bacteria that creates Legionnaire’s) grows well in warm water and can be found in showers and tubs as well as in hot tubs that aren’t properly drained.
Pseudomonas pneumonia is an infection caused by the microbe Pseudomonas aeruginosa. While pneumonia is generally treatable, Pneumonia has shown signs of antibiotic resistance, especially when introduced to the bodies of those with already-compromised immune systems. Pneumonia can be fatal if not treated and involves an array of unpleasant symptoms ranging from high fevers to vomiting.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, though not highly prevalent in drinking water, can produce multiple types of infections, including blood and/or skin infections like severe rashes. P. aeruginosa most commonly is found in individuals with already-compromised immune systems and can be resistant to antibiotics.
Caused by mycobacteria that live in pipes, Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease characterized by the growth of nodules around the lungs. Antibiotic resistance is becoming more of an issue as rates of multiple drug-resistant TB increase. Although not as much of a problem in the United States today, other countries, such as India, have elevated fatality rates due to drug-resistant TB.
Corroded or faulty plumbing, overflowing tubs and sinks, and improperly drained hot tubs and pools are ideal breeding grounds for dangerous diseases that are becoming increasingly drug-resistant. Water filters can be helpful, but as recently seen in Flint, they cannot completely clean up a dirty, contaminated water supply. It is, however, important for homeowners to realize that the cost of new piping is preferable to the cost of long-term, intensive medical treatment or, sadly, a funeral. Avoid drug-resistant diseases as best you can by calling a plumber like First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc. for assistance with plumbing issues and remain diligent in monitoring the quality of the water coming into your home.