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VERIFY: No, masks do not cause Legionnaires' disease

The viral claim online is false. Legionnaires' disease is caused by stagnant water.

WASHINGTON — Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe the coronavirus could be under control in 12 weeks if everyone wore a mask. Still, all sorts of misinformation about masks continue to pop up online.

Including a claim that masks can cause other diseases: like Legionnaires’ disease. It came from a Facebook post. The post said that wearing a mask for too long allows bacteria to grow inside causing Legionnaires' disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of atypical pneumonia, which is a lung infection. It was discovered after an outbreak at an American Legion Convention in Philadelphia back in 1976.


Is there any evidence wearing a mask can cause Legionnaires' disease?


False, there is no evidence wearing a mask will cause Legionnaires' disease.

While false claims around masks continue to be presented on social media, the CDC’s stance on masks is that they are key to controlling the pandemic.

On the subject of masks, the CDC said that if 90% of America complied, it would take three months to get a handle on disease outbreak.

“It’s in our hands, within our grasp. But it is going to require all of us to embrace these mitigation steps. And we’re going to need to do that four, six, eight, 10, 12 weeks and then we will see this outbreak under control," CDC Head Dr. Robert Redfield said.

Our Sources:

Christopher Sulmonte from the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bio-Containment Unit and Dr. Heather Volkamer, an Attending Physician at Georgetown Medstar.

Right off the bat, both of our experts told us this claim is false. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by bacteria that contaminates stagnant water. The CDC explains the most likely sources of infection are things like hot tubs and decorative fountains.

Our experts go on to explain that bacteria can’t develop from a person’s own sweat or saliva.

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