ECMC on Sept. 15, 2005. PHOTO/Harry Scull, Jr., Buffalo News

The Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY, found slightly elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in the hospital’s water supply. Testing was ordered after a patient was suspected of being sickened with Legionnaires’ disease, according to news reports.

It’s unclear whether the patient, who was diagnosed in late September, developed the disease at the hospital or whether he was infected before being admitted. He’s in stable condition.

The hospital tested for the bacteria in 12 locations and found slightly elevated levels in three of them, a hospital spokesperson said. “We put the water restrictions in place out of an abundance of caution,” he said.

Other precautions being implemented include filters being installed on faucets, shower heads, and ice machines, as well as the distribution of bottled water throughout the facility.



St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, MT, reported positive test results for the Legionella bacteria in mid-September after a patient was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, according to multiple news reports.

The patient was not responding to normal antibiotics so additional testing was ordered, and that confirmed the Legionnaires’ diagnosis. The patient’s timeline indicates to hospital personnel that the disease was likely contracted at the hospital.

Tests of the hospital’s water system returned some positive results for the bacteria. Medical-grade water filters are being installed on the water faucets and shower heads to help remedy the situation.



All of the drinking fountains at The Ohio State University’s Drackett Tower are operational again after the water system at the residence hall received an all-clear after test results were negative for Legionella, according to the student newspaper The Lantern.

A majority of the 12-story residence hall had been without working water fountains since before the start of the fall semester after a student was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease. Showers and sinks were still functioning though, as well as three fountains on the first floor and two in the basement.

During the university’s investigation, officials identified “areas for improved control,” and those were addressed, according to the audit report. The cooling tower water was disinfected, as well as a low-level disinfection of the hot water system, where trace amounts of Legionella were found, although the health department did not recommend such action take place.



Researchers in Spain have identified street-cleaning trucks as a possible source of Legionnaires’ disease after a second individual at the same Barcelona street-cleaning company was sickened with the disease in four years, according to news reports.

Legionella bacteria must be inhaled into the lungs in the form of aerosolized mist to be infectious.

The infections were likely caused by contaminated water tanks aboard the trucks and the release of aerosolized Legionella bacteria through high-pressure water hoses used to clean the streets.

The researchers took samples from four trucks used by the worker prior to becoming ill and found Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 in both the water and internal foam of two of the trucks.

Workers are now required to wear personal protective equipment during “work-related exposure,” according to the research published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Since the discovery of Legionnaires’ disease in 1976, experts have identified asphalt paving machines, windshield wiper fluid, dishwashers and even water births as uncommon sources for the sometimes deadly lung infection.