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UPDATE: Legionnaires’ in PA Veterans Hospital

Posted on February 21, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse

CNN did an update on this story the other night and we thought our readers would be interested. As of now, there have been 21 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease at the Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s University Drive Hospital and 5 deaths.

Legionnaires’ Disease is completely preventable with proper maintenance of water and ventilation systems. That these hospital administrators ignored the presence of a deadly bacterium is absolutely tragic.

Our original article from November, 2012 follows the video from CNN:

The Veterans Administration Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s University Drive Hospital is the scene of the latest outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the US. Unfortunately it won’t be the last.

Five cases have been reported so far at the former home of Legionnaires’ researchers Victor Yu and Janet Stout, the researchers who originally connected Legionella with water systems in 1982. Thankfully, so far no one has died in this outbreak.

In updates over the holiday weekend, it was revealed that the copper-silver ionization system put in place by Yu and Stout in 1993 was known to have not been properly maintained in recent months. Allegedly a consultant had advised that levels be adjusted in June, but the maintenance itself was not performed until October, putting patients and healthcare workers at risk for much of the summer and fall of this year.

Legionella bacteria are everywhere and spread through water systems, infecting victims through water vapor from pools, hot tubs, showers and fountains. If these water systems are not properly maintained, not only can legionella spread, it WILL. And it can be deadly. Facilities which house large numbers of people are always at risk because of the size and complexity of their water systems. It is essential that hospitals, hotels, cruise ships and other large facilities be vigilant about preventing the growth of legionella bacteria at all times. AirTek provides the cleaning and maintenance services required to prevent spread of this deadly bacteria. Contact us if we can help you keep your facility clean and safe.

Wendy Stackhouse has been the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other environmental services, since October of 2011. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for more updates on indoor air challenges!

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