- National Jewish Expert Finds Indoor Hot Tubs Are Source
Of Lung Disease
- DENVER - Microscopic organisms
contained in aerosols generated by indoor hot tubs can cause lung disease
in the people who regularly use them, a National Jewish Medical and Research
Center physician reports today at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) International
- National Jewish physicians recently treated nine people,
including four children' for a lung disease caused by nontuberculosis mycobacteria
(NTM). NTM"specifically Mycobacteria avium and fortuitum"were
found in the hot tub water and/or in the air of the homes of the people
diagnosed. The hot tubs are located inside of homes, near family and living
rooms, and bedrooms.
- "The jets from hot tubs aerosolize the bacteria,
which is how this becomes a problem, said Cecile Rose, M.D., MPH, a National
Jewish physician specializing in treating people with environment and occupational
lung diseases, and reporting the research findings at ATS. "Bubbles"rich
with the bacteria"rise up, burst and disperse the bacteria throughout
- Unlike its bacterial cousin tuberculosis"transmitted
by infected humans"NTM is not contagious. In nature, these organisms
live in brackish ocean water, like tide pools. But indoor hot tubs, which
generally produce a substantial mist, may be causing this lung disease
to become more prevalent. The organisms enter the air when a mist, called
aerosolization' is produced and the bacteria are suspended in water droplets.
- People with NTM often suffer from fever, tiredness, night
sweats, cough and weight loss. "For people with mild cases of NTM,
removing the hot tub from the home is the primary treatment, she said.
- In more severe cases, and those reported on at the ATS
conference, treatment involved corticosteroids and/or corticosteroids and
antimycobacterial antibiotics. Sometimes three to four antibiotics must
be given at once.
- This respiratory problem is often misdiagnosed as sarcoidosis"characterized
by inflamed, microscopic growths called granulomas most often found in
the lungs"or tuberculosis. "This disease mimics other granulomatous
lung diseases, but few people understand the link between hot tub exposure
and the symptoms of disease, she said. In instances when the lung problems
are misdiagnosed, and in three cases reported at the ATS conference they
were, patients remained in the home, prolonging their exposure to NTM.
- Nevertheless, Dr. Rose adds, "Because luxury items
like hot tubs are becoming more common' I believe there will be an increasing
recognition and understanding of the risk associated with their use among
doctors and consumers.
- For more information on this topic or other lung diseases,
call LUNG LINE, (800) 222-LUNG, e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit, http://www.nationaljewish.org.
- The ATS 96th International Conference taking place in
Toronto brings together more than 15,000 pulmonary and critical care physician
scientists, nurses, therapists, health educators and others from throughout
- Note: This story has been adapted from a news release
issued by National Jewish Medical And Research Center for journalists
and other members of the public. If you wish to quote from any part of
this story, please credit National Jewish Medical And Research Center
as the original source. You may also wish to include the following link
in any citation: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000505161510.htm
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