Researchers into the causes of deadly pneumonia realized that it was caused by the legionnaires’ disease bacteria. What they couldn’t figure out was why it seemed to be connected to riding in the car.
A new report seems to have found the answer and it’s rather strange. Apparently it’s the windshield washer fluid. The windshield washer fluid seems to be a breeding ground for the deadly bacteria. When you spray that fluid the bacteria become airborne. In one study in Arizona, 3/4 of the school buses tested had bacteria levels high enough to cause an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
Health officials aren’t issuing a safety precaution as of yet saying that further study is needed. With the warmer weather coming, or already here, however, it is important that awareness spread.
Legionnaires’ disease is more prevalent in the summer than in the winter. This is partly because the bacteria multiplies faster in warmer water but it is also because warmer weather means open windows in vehicles. When the window is open and the driver sprays the window with windshield washer fluid, people are exposed, either through splatters or through the airborne bacteria.
It seems like only common sense to close the windows when spraying fluid on the windshield, being especially cautious when elderly people or people with weakened immune system are riding in the car.
Read more about this issue here.