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More buildings test positive for Legionella at Waco VA hospital

POSTED: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 1:02pm
UPDATED: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 10:26pm

The Waco VA Medical Center confirmed Wednesday that 21 of its buildings has, or had elevated levels of Legionella- the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease.

In a press conference, officials from the hospital announced that more of its buildings have tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease. The disease can cause sickness similar to pneumonia and is of much more concern when contracted by the elderly or those with weak immune systems.

The tests began after a veteran contracted the disease in October.

Of the 26 buildings tested, five tested negative.

There are ten buildings with low-concentrated levels. Three of those are patient care buildings.

There are eleven buildings with medium-concentrated levels, four of which are patient care.

The hospital is fitting all but one of the buildings with water filters. Many of them are also set to receive shock chlorination treatment.

“We still have not diagnosed any other patients, nor staff with Legionnaires' disease," said Meyer.

One person keeping a close eye on the situation is Johnathan Echols of Waco Water. The city provides the hospital with its H2O.

“One of the reasons Legionella is typically found in a hospital is because it’s usually a large facility with a lot of water, and some of it might be sitting on a certain floor for too long," said Echols. "The water needs to be sitting stagnant for that bacteria to build up.”

He said the Legionella risk is low and for that reason the city doesn’t test for it on a regular basis.

The hospital seconds the notion.

Meyer said, "That’s the message that we really want to get out; It’s very low risk and we are doing all we can to combat this and take care of it.”


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