A late-summer cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Buffalo, NY is still under investigation. The investigation began when state-mandated testing revealed that a cooling tower at the East Niagara Hospital contained elevated levels of Legionella bacteria. Testing is now being done to determine whether the strain of Legionella in the patients’ bodies is the same as that in the cooling tower.
Recent legislation in New York has required building owner to test all cooling every 90 days and log their results with the State Health Department. In a routine test of the hospital’s cooling tower, levels of Legionella were found to be ten times those allowed by state regulations. The hospital has since chlorinated the cooling tower and worked with water professionals to sanitize the tower in the future.
At approximately the same time as the tower tested positive for Legionella, eight cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported among residents who live near the hospital. In one case, a 68-year-old man died; his family has stated that the cause of death was Legionnaires’ disease. Th Niagara County Health has not commented on the status of the cases, but states that there is no evidence so far to connect the cooling tower to any of the patients. Tests are currently being conducted to isolate the strain of bacteria.
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Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.