The sight and sound of running water seems to have an overall calming effect on the average human spirit.
So erecting walls of moving water in the lobby of busy buildings, is a shik sophisticated way to decorate. It is both aesthetically pleasing and spiritually up lifting.
Dropping things in
Corporate fountains are relatively new on the block, but fountains have been providing a rallying point for centuries. And dropping things into fountains is standard fountain protocol.
When I had the privilege of stopping by the Trevi fountain in Rome some years ago, I made sure I dropped in the special coin I had been given by my Aunt and asked the fairy of the fountain to make her wish come true.
Few people would bother dropping coins into corporate fountains, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t dropping things in.
The Legionaire outbreak
In 2010 there was an outbreak of Legionaire’s disease in Wiscosin. Disease outbreaks happen all the time, but Legionaire’s disease is a little unusual because outbreaks happen when a bacteria called Legionella is breathed in. But Legionella is not a normal resident of the airways – it needs water to survive.
Since we don’t typically breathe in water – it takes a special set of circumstances for this killer to be released.
Air conditioners are normally implicated in outbreaks.
But this outbreak had nothing to do with the air conditioner.
The water wall
Officials interviewed all the victims of the outbreak to piece together their movements prior to coming down with pneumonia.
None of the victims had been hospitalized, but all of them had visited a particular hospital in the city. Not as patients but as visitors. So the hospital was GROUND ZERO.
Water samples were taken from every nook and cranny. The only place Legionella showed up, was in the very fancy water wall in the lobby.
The fountain of iniquity
All of the victims had spent time in the lobby.
It was concluded that the focal point of the hospital lobby, was the focal point of the Legionaire outbreak.
In a flash, the hospital management switched off the water wall. And today, water walls are few and far between in healthcare facilities in Wisconsin. But that is Wisconsin – what is happening in your lobby ?
Dropping things into fountains is standard fountain protocol. And coins are not the only things that can land in that water.
So you might want to hold your breath, if you stop to admire a corporate water feature and avoid them completely in a medical environment – you never know who may have dropped a spit ball or two in, before you. And make sure you fumigate your lungs with a little vitamin D bug spray on a regular basis.An Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Associated with a Decorative Water Wall Fountain in a Hospital. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2012; 33 (2): 185 Thomas E. Haupt, Richard T. Heffernan, James J. Kazmierczak, Henry Nehls-Lowe, Bruce Rheineck, Christine Powell, Kathryn K. Leonhardt, Amit S. Chitnis, Jeffrey P. Davis.
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