Legionella bacteria have been found from two cooling towers at Regency Square Mall and one cooling tower at Southwire

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MONTGOMERY-The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) continues to investigate a Legionella
pneumonia outbreak in Florence, Ala. At this time, all known cases have been associated with
Glenwood Nursing Home facility.
Positive environmental cultures for Legionella bacteria have been found from two cooling towers
regencyat Regency Square Mall and one cooling tower at Southwire. Testing continues to determine if
there is a linkage between any cooling towers and the Glenwood Nursing Home outbreak. Out
of precaution for the community, the cooling towers have been turned off and the owners aresouthwire
working with the health department to receive information on proper cleaning of the towers.
Cooling towers on rooftops can dispense water droplets over some distance.
Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health,
reports that there are 15 patients with confirmed Legionella pneumonia. Ten patients are
suspected to have had Legionella pneumonia, but test results on these patients have not been
returned from the laboratory. One death from Legionella pneumonia is included in the 15
reported cases. No new patients have been identified since Oct. 10.
Dr. Landers states, “Over the past week, our physicians, hospitals, and urgent care clinics have
been working with the health department to identify any new patients with Legionella. They are
taking our advice to do additional testing for Legionella on their pneumonia patients.”
The Glenwood facility remains open and operational, is cooperating fully with public health
officials, and has performed recommended remediation steps, although no water vapor
generating sources have been identified at the facility at this time.
Legionella pneumonia is not transmitted from person to person. People get Legionella
pneumonia when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria. Most healthy people
exposed to the germ do not become sick. People at higher risk for illness are those who are
older than 50, are current or former smokers, have chronic lung problems such as COPD, have
weak immune systems from cancer, diabetes or kidney failure, or are on chemotherapy.
Legionella pneumonia is caused by a germ that occurs naturally in the environment. The germ
grows best in warm water. Some places where the germ can be found include hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains. An example might
be from breathing in droplets sprayed from a hot tub that has not been properly cleaned and
disinfected.
For additional information, please contact your health care provider or local health department.

 

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