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Puerto Rico’s Legionella Experts Help to Keep Cruise Ships and Other Vessels Safe for Passengers and Crew

April 18, 2018 Cruise No Comments Email Email

The islands of Puerto Rico have a rich maritime history. Since its founding over 500 years ago by Spanish explorers, islanders and visitors have relied on ships and other vessels to move goods, people and provide for recreation. Today, there are a number of major ports that handle freight, cargo and the many cruise ships that either call Puerto Rico home or have it as a major stop on their cruising itinerary. All of this activity equates to millions of passengers and sailors passing through these ports each year.

Helping to safeguard the health of these visitors and sailors are the Legionella experts at Zimmetry Environmental. Legionella is the name of the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. While most people taking a cruise or working on a commercial vessel probably don’t think about exposure hazards to the bacteria, anyone with a weakened or suppressed immune system is vulnerable to becoming infected if they breathe in a mist or water droplets that have been contaminated with it. Legionella can be found naturally in the environment and sometimes in manmade sources of warm water. On ships, these sources could include water tanks, fountains and other water features, hot tubs, and even from the water coming out of a showerhead.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1977 through 2012, there were at least 83 ship-associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “These included outbreaks on at least 8 ships and resulted in many illnesses and tragically, at least 6 deaths. Many cruise ships have a number of seniors on board as passengers. Seniors happen to be one of the groups that is most susceptible to exposure to Legionella. Other groups include smokers, people with chronic lung disease, and individuals with a weakened immune system. This is just one of the reasons that verifying the effectiveness of water disinfection procedures on cruise ships or any type of vessel is so important.”

Zimmetry Environmental is pleased to offer water testing for Legionella and other pathogens on all types of vessels. The proactive monitoring for Legionella helps to identify exposure risks on ships to prevent illnesses and outbreaks. Testing is also instrumental for identifying the source of an outbreak if one has already occurred.

To learn more about Zimmetry’s air, water, environmental, occupational, and compliance testing and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .

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