Potentially deadly Legionella bacteria were discovered at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The bacteria were also discovered just a few months ago in January at the same facility. The West Palm Beach VA attempted to disinfect after the first finding in 2015, but the bacteria returned.
“It’s in the system. You know we hyper-chlorinated. We hoped that we resolved it. Obviously we didn’t resolve all of it,” said Jon Roberts, West Palm Beach VA chief of facilities management.
All drinking fountains at the medical center have been shut down due to the Legionella finding. Many filters on shower heads and ice machines have also been changed. Bottled water has been distributed to to in-patients for teeth brushing.
It is concerning that the bacteria has returned within a few months, but according to Christine Tugwell, nurse manager for infection prevention at the West Palm Beach VA, “[the bacteria] can re-grow. “it can live in pipes and water systems and re-grow itself so we are very proactive in taking the approaches that we’re doing.”
So far, no patients or staff have become ill with Legionnaires’ disease as a result of the bacteria.
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