Test found Legionella bacteria in McGuire VA Medical Center cooling system


Patients and employees not believed to be at risk

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Patients and employees at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in South Richmond are not at risk, a spokesperson said Thursday, after a cooling system at the facility tested positive for legionella bacteria.

The positive result was revealed following a “quarterly water testing process” at the hospital. Samples taken from clinical locations on campus during that process did not test positive for the bacteria, but did at “a separate water system” not near clinical areas.

“The positive result came from a separate water system used for the facility cooling towers, which are located away from clinical areas,” David Hodge, the acting pubic affairs officer at the Central Virginia VA Health Care System, told 8News. “The remediation process began immediately and was successful.”

Legionella bacteria naturally lives in lakes and in streams but health officials say the bacteria becomes a concern when it’s aerosolized into small droplets and into private water systems, like cooling towers, hot tubs and fountains. The bacteria causes the Legionellosis disease, which has two forms: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever

“Positive tests for legionella bacteria are not an uncommon occurrence at hospitals,” Hodge said. “No patients or employees at Central Virginia VA HCS have developed Legionnaire’s Disease at the facility. This occurrence does not constitute a risk to patients or employees.”

This story is developing. Stay with 8News for updates.


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