Legionella found at Grand Island veterans home

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Legionella bacteria have been found in the water supply at the Grand Island Veterans Home.

The water at the facility was tested because the same bacteria was found in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, The Grand Island Independent reported (http://bit.ly/18P5sgj). A news release from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which operates the veterans home, says the water at the home was tested as a precaution.

“There are no known cases of illness due to the Legionella bacteria at this time,” said Alex Willford, veterans home administrator. “Immediate precautionary steps include shutting off the lawn water sprinkler system until additional testing is completed, along with other measures that will eliminate the bacteria on the (veterans home) campus in the very near future.”

Water filters are being installed to all showers and whirlpool bathing systems, which are the most likely ways a resident might come in contact with the bacteria.

The bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, is spread through infected mist or water droplets. It is not contagious and usually affects people with weakened immune systems. Typical symptoms are shortness of breath, high fever, cough, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and loss of appetite.

Tim Luchsinger, Grand Island utilities director, said the bacteria can occur in larger facilities with complex and large plumbing systems where the water might sit in pipes.

The bacteria did not from the city’s water supply, Luchsinger said, and back-flow preventers will keep the home’s contaminated water from tainting the city’s water supply, he said.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com

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