A recent CDC study of the presence of legionella in our nation’s cooling has produced concerning results. Water from 190+ cooling towers from around the country was collected and tested for the presence of legionella bacteria. The CDC found that 84% of those water samples contained at least DNA traces of legionella bacteria. The study also found that 79 of the 196 (~40%) surveyed cooling towers contained live legionella bacteria. These findings were enough for the study’s head researcher, Dr. Anna Llewellyn, to refer to legionella as being “ubiquitous in U.S. cooling towers”.
Cooling towers have been strongly associated with outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease. The first recorded outbreak at the 1976 American Legion Convention in Philadelphia, that resulted in 34 deaths, was caused by an improperly maintained cooling tower that disseminated aerosolized legionella bacteria throughout the area. More recently, in 2015, two separate outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease in the Bronx were tied to cooling towers that had tested positive for legionella bacteria. These outbreaks combined were responsible around 130 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease and 13 deaths. A CDC study, published in 2016, lists cooling towers as being the second most common source of exposure to legionella bacteria, right behind potable water. The same study also states that cooling tower-caused outbreaks were the largest source of Legionnaires’ Disease cases.
To read more about the CDC’s findings, click here.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.