5 de dez de 2014

Water faucets at Bonham VA test positive for Legionella

BONHAM -- Seven water faucets at two North Texas VA Centers have tested positive for Legionella, a bacteria that can lead to Legionnaires' Disease.

The North Texas VA says 205 water samples were taken in November and the positive results were received on Tuesday. 

Five of the faucets came from the Bonham VA Medical Center. Two were from the facility in Dallas.

"The symptoms are fever, headaches, cough, shortness of breath," Sherman infectious disease Dr. Minaxi Rathod said. 

The VA says no one at either facility has been diagnosed with Legionnaires' Disease and that the chance of anyone contracting Legionella from the faucets is minimal.

Legionnaires' Disease is described as a form of pneumonia. It spreads by inhaling water mist or vapor containing the bacteria.

"Usually, if it's diagnosed early enough it can be treated because we do have antibiotics for treatment," Dr. Rathod said.

After receiving the positive results, the VA says it took all the affected faucets out of service. It says the lines will be flushed with hot water and extra chlorine.

The VA says staff at the Community Living Center have been placed on "heightened clinical awareness" and that additional water testing is underway.

The VA began implementing national directives in August to prevent illness associated with Legionella. It followed an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease at the Pittsburgh VA where six patients died and 16 became sick.

"I love my VA because they did a lot for me so I just hope that they do take care of this," Bonham veteran Herschiel Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson says he receives treatment at the hospital and volunteers at the nursing center that's now on alert.

"Any vet, I would hate for something bad to happen because we have been through and they have been through a lot so anything extra is not needed," Hutchinson said.

The VA plans to repeat sampling on the affected faucets after the lines are flushed.

The CDC says Legionella is naturally found in water, especially warm water. It can also be found in cooling towers, plumbing systems, and decorative pools or fountains.

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