Oct
24
2014
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Allegheny County DoH

The Allegheny County Health Department is strongly encouraging retirement and other group homes that look after the elderly to be vigilant about monitoring Legionella in their potable water supplies to prevent cases of potentially deadly Legionnaires’ disease.

On October 23, county health officials released approximately 70 pages of guidelines specific to preventing the propagation of the bacteria and diagnosis of the disease in care homes and hospitals.

Allegheny County has been no stranger to Legionnaires’ disease in  recent years such as the outbreak in the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System in which six of 22 patients infected with the bacteria died as a result of their illnesses.

Those of advanced age are known to be a highly susceptible group for Legionnaires’ disease.  Although hospitals are “very, very proactive at this point in being aware of Legionella,” nursing homes and similar facilities might overlook the threat said Sharon Silvestri, the infectious diseases program chief at the health department.

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Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:55 pm
Oct
23
2014
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A fourth version of ASHRAE’s proposed Legionellosis standard has been released for public review and is available for comment until November 10, 2014.

ASHRAE’s Standard 188P, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, seeks to establish minimum Legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.

The document can be viewed at www.ashrae.org/publicreviews.

According to Tom Watson, chair of the Standard 188P committee, “Building water systems vary substantially in their design and their capability for transmission of Legionella” and that “Scientific evidence is either lacking or inconclusive in certain aspects of Legionella control. The informative guidance is included to provide suggestions, recommendations and references.”

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:54 pm
Oct
22
2014
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Northern AZ VA

The Daily Courier reported yesterday that the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System in Prescott, AZ has discovered potentially deadly Legionella bacteria in its water system during a routine test.

According to VA spokesperson Jean Schaefer, the bacteria were detected on Oct. 14 in water faucets of nine hospital rooms, but she was unsure about how many of these rooms were occupied at the time, whether patients were moved, or if they were given information about the bacterial contamination.

It was reported by officials, however, that the hospital has taken action to decontaminate its water system.  Furthermore, there have not been any cases of Legionnaires’ disease reported in connection with the Northern Arizona VA.

To read more about this story, please click here.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:24 pm
Oct
10
2014
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fire hydrant

A fire hydrant in Ocean City, MD has tested positive for Legionella bacteria.  Test results for samples taken since the discovery are pending. but officials claim there is no cause for concern just yet.

The hydrant on 145th Street tested positive on Sept. 25 and caused larger efforts to be taken to identify the source and possible exposure to the public.  The Worcester County Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment are working together with the town to take additional samples.

“We are working with the health department and the MDE to resolve the issue in the best possible manner,” she said. “Upon receiving the news on Sept. 25 that the results of a water sample taken from a city hydrant on 145th Street were positive for legionella bacteria, our water department immediately began taking steps, including taking additional samples as a precaution to ensure that no further actions are necessary.”

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Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 4:55 pm
Oct
09
2014
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Arizona VA

Legionella bacteria were discovered at the Southern Arizona Veterans affairs Health Care System during testing on September 22 and 23.  Of 120 testing points in the water system, nine were positive for Legionella.

“This discovery of Legionella is extremely concerning,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Barber in statement today. “Although this bacterium is found naturally in the environment, it can cause serious health problems and even death.”

“I appreciate officials at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System moving quickly to notify its patients, staff and the public about this potential health issue as soon as they became aware of it,” said Barber. “Now I call on VA administrators to move expeditiously to cleanse the hospital’s water supply so it poses no further threat to our veterans. I have been in contact with the Veterans Affairs department, both locally and in Washington, to ensure there has been no impact to veterans’ care. “

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Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:28 pm
Oct
07
2014
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Discovery Inn

Jules Zacher has recently been retained by two additional victims of Legionnaires’ disease.

One client contracted Legionnaires’ disease after staying at the Discovery Inn in Ukiah, CA which was known to have at least three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with its facility.

The second client contracted Legionnaires’ disease after visiting UPMC Presbyterian (Presby) in Pittsburgh, PA.  In May 2014, there was an outbreak of three confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease at Presby linked to the ice machines at the hospital.  In July 2014, Legionella bacteria were found once again, but this time in the sinks of patients’ rooms.

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 2:39 pm
Oct
01
2014
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Orlando VA

Three elderly veterans have contracted Legionnaires’ disease at the new Veterans Affairs facility in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida.  All three veterans were living in the same wing of the building.

According to the health department, the showers were not the cause of illness.  Despite this, use of the showers is currently banned and access to restrooms and sinks are restricted while changes are made to the water system.

Congressman John Mica was disappointed in the VA’s lack of care in preventing Legionella infection and said, “it’s unfortunate that the proper protocols and procedures for flushing the lines and protecting the patients was not done by the Veterans Administration or the contractor,”

All three veterans were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease in July of this year and one died after contracted the illness; this death, however, was not attributed to the disease according to officials.

A VA spokesperson said that the water lines are currently being flushed on a daily basis and that they are also closely monitoring chlorine levels.

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Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:33 pm
Sep
30
2014
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University_of_Iowa_Hospitals_and_Clinics_logo

The University of Iowa Hospitals had an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the early 1980s involving 24 patients, 11 of whom died as a result of their illnesses.

UI did a major overhaul on its water system as a result of this outbreak.  Despite this, several more patients at UI contracted the same illness about 10 years ago, two patients died.  According to UI officials, it was unclear if the patients had contracted the illness while at the hospital or outside the hospital.  Nevertheless, records show that the state paid a $500,000.00 settlement to the survivors of one of the patients.

According to Dr. Loreen Herwaldt, an epidemiologist for the UI Hospitals, the staff is very aware about Legionella and works to keep close tabs on the issue.  Multiple disinfection methods for the water system are in place to prevent future outbreaks.

“It’s very, very rare that we get a positive” test result in the water, said Herwaldt.

Herwaldt further said that it’s been several years since anyone has become ill with Legionnaires’ disease at UI and that the medical staff routinely test for Legionella bacteria in people who have symptoms consistent with pneumonia.

To read more about this story, please click here.

 

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 10:13 am
Sep
26
2014
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Faith Mission Ohio

A resident of Faith Mission, a men’s shelter in Columbus, OH, was found to have Legionnaires’ disease earlier this week.   No other residents appeared to be symptomatic, but the shelter took precautionary steps and switched to bottled drinking water and ask the men to temporarily shower at another site.  The shelter operators also had the premises tested for the presence of Legionella bacteria.

According to Jose Rodriguez, Columbus Public Health, there is no reason to believe that the man contracted Legionnaires’ disease at Faith Mission as no one else has presented with symptoms.

Further, Faith Mission’s executive director said “We honestly don’t have any reason to think it has anything to do with our facility. We have tested the water, done a remediation — a flush — of our water system and moved to bottled water and showering at other facilities.”

To read more about this story, please click here

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 4:29 pm
Sep
24
2014
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Autumn Care banner

Three residents of Autumn Care, a nursing home in Hoke County, North Carolina, have fallen ill with Legionnaires’ disease.   The first of these cases was discovered on Aug. 28 and the two other cases were identified after all residents were tested.

Autumn Care brought in a company to test its water and install filters and test results are still pending.

According to Hoke County Health Director, Helene Edwards, changes are being implemented to prevent the Legionella bacteria from spreading.

“Went to the facility, checked out all the areas where there could be possible sources of the legionellosis bacteria,” Edwards said Tuesday. “They went ahead and turned the water off at that point and brought in bottled water to use.”  Water is now restored to to approximately 70% of the building.

To read more about this story, please click here and here.

 

Posted by jzacher">jzacher at 5:22 pm