Tests Reveal Legionella Bacterium In Temple VA Building

Temple VA Medical Center (File)

TEMPLE (June 5, 2014) Annual water tests detected Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, in four rooms of a building on the Temple VA campus, but no cases of the disease have been reported, the VA said Thursday.

Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial infection that can cause deadly pneumonia.

The tests of the four rooms in Wings B and D of the VA’s Community Living Center revealed positive cultures for the bacterium.

Residents and their families and congressional and veteran service organization stakeholders have or will be notified of the results the VA said.

“Our physicians and nurses will continue heightened vigilance for Legionnaires ’ disease signs and symptoms with active surveillance of all pneumonia cases to identify any possible cases,” the VA said in a press release Thursday.

A rapid same-day urine test will be used for patients who display symptoms to rule out Legionnaire’s disease, the VA said.

Town hall meetings will be scheduled for employees.

“The infection risk to individuals is very low in the present circumstance, because the bacteria are normally transmitted by aerosol through inhalation,” the VA said.

Low levels of non-pneumophila Legionella were found in two sinks in the outpatient Mental Health and Music Therapy building, but that bacterium rarely causes illness in normal adults, the VA said.

Test results from other buildings came back negative, but results were pending Thursday of tests in Teague Hospital, the VA said.

Last year, tests that were initiated after a patient was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at the Waco VA Hospital found some level of legionella bacteria in 21 of the 26 buildings on the hospital campus.

The patient who was diagnosed with the disease in October 2013 was successfully treated, and no new cases were reported.