Next time you find yourself transfixed by one of those indoor water walls, run away. It turns out that they can be giant bacteria incubators flinging droplets of toxins into the air. One such wall, intended to calm visitors at a Wisconsin hospital, infected dozens with Legionnaire’s Disease. Oops.
“An Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Associated with a Decorative Water Wall Fountain in a Hospital,” a study published in the online journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, traces the source of a mysterious and large uptick in Legionnaires’ disease cases. NPR’s Audie Cornish spoke with the lead author, Thomas Haupt, respiratory disease epidemiologist for the Wisconsin Division of Public Health.