Earlier this week, we posted about Baumholder, a US army base in Germany that had to decontaminate around 20 housing units after finding high levels of Legionella bacteria there. Now, just 35 miles away, officials at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center are ordering the decontamination of the hospital’s water system after finding Legionella bacteria in two separate areas of the facility.
According to the hospital’s spokeswoman Stacy Sanning, the inspectors had originally tested there on February 23 however only recently notified the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center a few days ago of the high levels of Legionella bacteria. Though it remains unclear where exactly the Legionella bacteria was found, a message from the hospital did say that showers were included within the area affected.
The pipes located where the Legionella bacteria was found are supposed to be flushed out today. Once complete, officials at the medical center intend to retest in order to ensure the flushing was effective. These results from Baumholder along with the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center largely have come about due to a change in German governmental policy, which in February began requiring the testing of U.S. bases for Legionella.
LRMC spokeswoman Stacy Sanning was sure to point out that, “(A)lthough this is the first time testing has been done on U.S. installations in Germany (for Legionella), there have been no cases detected in DoD beneficiaries from a DoD facility in Europe in at least 10 years,”.
Sanning added that “(S)ince January 2017, LRMC has tested more than a thousand samples from patients with influenza-like illnesses, fever and respiratory symptoms, similar to what would be seen in Legionnaires Disease,” and after all of this testing, found that “(N)one of these samples has been positive for Legionella.”
Between Baumholder and the LRMC, it appears as though the testing promoted by the German government perhaps served as a catalyst for reviewing the hospital and base’s facilities to ensure the safety of their water systems. With the discovery of Legionella bacteria at both locations, one hopes that they will take this opportunity to not only ensure a proper decontamination of the facilities, as it appears they are currently undergoing now, but also to take this chance to develop some sort of water management system or routine testing in order to hopefully never experience this kind of scare again.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.