Bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease detected at US University

29th June 2018 | Victoria Franks

The below news article posted on Michigan Radio website on 7 June 2018 highlights the importance of universities regularly testing water systems, in order to prevent cases of the potentially deadly legionnaire’s disease. To read the full article click here.

‘Wayne State University announced Wednesday night that the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in the cooling towers on three campus buildings and in the bathrooms of three others.

The university tested 16 buildings after an employee who works in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’— a severe form of pneumonia that can be caused by breathing in water droplets containing the legionella bacteria.

An outbreak of the disease occurred in Flint between 2014 and 2015, during the height of the city’s water crisis. Twelve people died and at least 87 were infected. Wayne State researchers studied the outbreak in 2016.

However, Legionnaires’ is not contagious, nor does it pose a risk to most generally healthy people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, common risk factors include heavy cigarette smoking, chronic lung disease, and suppressed immune systems.

Michael Wright, Wayne State’s Vice President of Communications and Chief of Staff, says the university notified students and staff about the bacteria, but told them not to worry.

“It’s maybe out of an over-abundance of caution, but we think everyone should know this kind of thing. For most people, it’s a very, very low risk. Healthy people do not have a risk– hardly at all– of contracting legionella.”

Wright says the university’s water had been tested previously according to protocol, but legionella either wasn’t picked up or wasn’t noticed. Now, with the help of outside professionals, they’re retesting buildings throughout campus.

“We’re continuing the testings, [and] we’ve shocked those cooling towers, so that ought to be remediated today,” he says. “We don’t see any risk for people, so we’re not closing those buildings.”

The bathrooms that tested positive for legionella will be closed while they’re being disinfected.

The affected employee is in recovery and is expected to return to work next week.’

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  • Ensure Water Safety / Legionella compliance to ACoP L8 and HSG274 / HTM 04-01.
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  • Integrates to other systems such as CAFM*, Property, Facilities / Maintenance Management, PPM systems, Workforce Scheduling and Accounting Ledgers. *ZetaSafe integrates directly with Qube Planet FM.

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  • Smartphones, tablets or even PDAs with bluetooth temperature probes can be used to collect data and the system is already programmed with the prescribed L8 and HSG274 temperature limits and frequencies and for the other manual inspections required too.
  • ZetaSafe Legionella logbook software puts you in control; you can schedule your tasks, manage failures or defects and analyse any trends. ZetaSafe makes it easier and more visible to help ensure compliance.

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