December 10, 2016

Legionnaires’ Disease Bacteria at Minneapolis VA

Legionella bacteria iStockphotoLegionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ Disease, has been discovered in the water system at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center. No illnesses have been reported.

Officials are working to eliminate the pathogen which was discovered during routine testing on Nov. 19. The system is being flushed and filters have  been installed on taps and shower heads.

Legionnaires’ Disease, which does not spread from person-to person, causes pneumonia-like symptoms including fever, cough, fatigue, confusion, aches and lung inflammation. It develops when water mist contaminated with Legionella bacteria is inhaled. The source of contaminated water mist can be showers, faucets, whirlpools, swimming pools, fountains or cooling towers in air conditioning systems.

Between 8,000 and 18,000 Americans are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ Disease. each year.  The condition is so-named because it was first discovered when an outbreak of pneumonia struck an American Legion convention in 1976.

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