Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

University employee contracts Legionnaire's disease

September 22, 2009
BETHLEHEM, PA — A contract worker at Lehigh University has come down with Legionnaire''s disease after coming in contact with bacteria in a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) unit at the University Center, according to The Morning Call.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, growing best in warm water, large plumbing systems or the air-conditioning systems of large buildings and are spread by breathing in vapor contaminated with the bacteria and not from person to person.
A crew treated the entire HVAC system following accepted protocols to eradicate the bacteria, the story stated.
The university notified students and staff of the "health advisory" by e-mail over the weekend, the story noted.
Lehigh spokeswoman Jennifer Tucker said: "The minute we thought he might have it, we began testing the potable water and the air. We''ll continue testing those units, but right now there is no cause for alarm."
Though tests came back positive for the presence of Legionella bacteria in at least one HVAC unit, the University Center remains open, the story added.
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