Three cooling towers in Lauderdale County tested positive for Legionella bacteria, the same bacteria responsible for the current outbreak in Alabama. Two of these cooling towers were at the Regency Square Mall and the third was at Southwire, a manufacturing factory facility.
James Hull, a spokesman for the mall said, “Regency Mall uses a third party contractor to provide preventative biocidal measures for its cooling towers and has cooperated fully with the Alabama Department of Public Health in its requests to sample the chiller water. On Thursday, Oct. 17, the mall voluntarily shut down and resterilized its cooling towers before any test results were available and will complete retesting before the chillers are reactivated.”
All cooling towers have since been shut off as a precaution and are being cleaned.
It is still unclear if there is a connection between the cooling towers and the cases from the Glenwood Nursing Home. According to Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer, the Southwire plant is only 1.7 miles away from the nursing home and the Regency Square Mall is even closer. Local health officials advise that people continue to go about their lives and stick to their usual routines, even if that means going to the mall.
There are now 15 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease including one death; this is up from the count of 13 cases from last Friday. 10 other possible cases are pending test results.