Submitted by the Public Information Officer
A statement from Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton regarding a Report of legionella at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge:
“This morning, the Niagara County Department of Health was notified that legionella was detected at one of the buildings operated by the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Lewiston, New York. The NCDOH has been in communication with the Bridge Commission and the New York State Department of Health regarding this situation and believes that the necessary corrective actions have been initiated and the situation is fully under control and poses no public health danger.
“For background, the Bridge Commission, working in cooperation with the General Services Administration (GSA), determined through testing that legionella was detected at the bridge. GSA initiated this sampling as a result of reported case of legionellosis of an employee that works at the facility. At that point, the NCDOH and NYSDOH were contacted and began following our typical protocols as it relates to legionella detection, which tends to be more common this time of year. As stated, the Bridge Commission then initiated corrective actions to the satisfaction of both the NCDOH and the NYSDOH.
“The NCDOH public health engineers have also reviewed cooling tower facilities in proximity to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and determined that all are compliant with sampling and reporting requirements for New York state bacterial monitoring regulations for legionella.”
Legionellosis is caused by infection with legionella bacteria. Legionella occurs naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. Additional sources of the bacteria may be found in man-made water sources such as cooling towers, water tanks, large plumbing systems, fountains, hot tubs and spas that are not properly maintained.
Legionella is typically transmitted by breathing in aerosolized water contaminated with the bacteria, not by drinking the water. Public water systems are usually not the source of legionella outbreaks.
Legionellosis is not considered a communicable disease and is not transmitted from person to person.
Most healthy individuals do not get sick after inhaling the bacteria. People at highest risk for legionellosis have a history of chronic disease, smoking, chronic lung disease, cancer or weakened immune systems.
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