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Bacteria Causing Legionnaires’ Disease Found At Wayne State

Source:, June 7, 2018
By: Jessica Strachan

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was discovered in several Wayne State University buildings.

Legionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, was located in several Wayne State University buildings, according to reports. The university began testing for potential legionella sources after an employee in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, WDIV reported. Cooling towers on three campus buildings tested positive for legionella.
Remediation in those three towers began immediately Wednesday evening using the prescribed disinfection process, the university said. Legionella was also identified in a private bathroom in the faculty building, in a first-floor men’s bathroom in Scott Hall next to room 1200, and in a men’s bathroom next to room 118 in the Cohn Building. The bathrooms will be closed until they can be further evaluated.
According to Channel 4, the university will continue testing of campus, including potable water, to ensure all water sources are safe. Consultants will return to campus this weekend to continue sampling. The university said it will also will work with experts to re-evaluate water treatment and monitor protocols, and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the problem does not occur in the future.
The City of Detroit Health Department has been alerted and will coordinate closely with the school. The university said that it is not aware of any other Legionnaires’ cases related to campus.

Who is at risk

Legionella bacteria do not spread from one person to another and Legionnaires’ disease doesn’t come from drinking water. The most likely sources of infection include potable water used for showering, cooling towers in large air conditioning units, decorative fountains and hot tubs. People can get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria. Symptoms of the disease include cough, fever, chills and muscle aches. In some cases, pneumonia may develop.
People at increased risk of contracting the disease are those 50 years or older; current or former smokers; people with a chronic lung disease; people with weak immune systems or who take drugs that weaken the immune system ; people with cancer; and people with underlying illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver failure.

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