Erie County Medical Center finds Legionella in water supply, 1 Legionnaire's case suspected

After identifying a patient with a suspected case of Legionnaires' disease, officials at Buffalo, N.Y.-based Erie County Medical Center tested the hospital's water supply and found slightly elevated levels of Legionella bacteria in 3 of the 12 testing locations, according to a report from The Buffalo News.

The hospital identified the possible Legionnaires' case the week of Sept. 24. It is unclear whether the patient contracted the illness prior to admission or at the hospital.

ECMC implemented tap water restrictions Sept. 29 "out of an abundance of caution," Peter Cutler, the hospital's vice president for communications and external affairs, told The Buffalo News. ECMC has also been distributing bottled water throughout the facility and installing water filters in ice machines, shower heads and faucets.

Mr. Cutler did not immediately respond to Becker's request for comment.

Legionnaires' disease is a virulent form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is not transmitted via person-to-person contact, but rather through the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water. Most individuals with healthy immune systems do not get sick when exposed to Legionella. However, the bacteria can be particularly harmful to the elderly individuals with lung disease and those with compromised immune systems.

To learn more about Legionnaires', click here

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