More than 80 percent of cooling towers test positive for Legionella in CDC study

Researchers with the CDC detected Legionella bacteria in a majority of cooling towers tested during a new study, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

Legionella bacteria can cause a more virulent form of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease. The bacteria is not spread via person-to-person contact or by drinking water, but can be contracted by inhaling mist from contaminated water sources, such as cooling towers and plumbing systems.

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Reported cases of Legionnaires' skyrocketed by 286 percent between the year 2000 and 2014 according to the CDC. To determine possible causes for the spike in cases, CDC investigators tested 196 cooling towers across the nation. Eighty-four percent of the towers tested positive for Legionella.

The study was presented during the CDC's 66th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference held in Atlanta from April 24 to 27.

To learn more about Legionnaires', click here.

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