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Six cases of Legionnaire’s Disease linked to Lehigh County outpatient center

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 30 2013 02:02:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 30 2013 05:06:52 PM CDT

Lehigh Co. facility warning of outbreak of Legionnaire's disease

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Six cases of Legionnaire's Diseases have been reported in people who visited the Integrated Health Campus in South Whitehall Township.

In response to these reported cases, Integrated Health Campus on Wednesday retained Legionella Risk Management Inc. of Chalfont, Pa., to conduct an investigation and remediation of its campus water systems.

Integrated Health provided the following statement:

“The PA Department of Health contacted us on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 23, letting us know that six cases of Legionnaire’s Disease have been reported in people who were present at our campus. As a precaution, we immediately hired Tim Keane, a nationally recognized expert on Legionella control in building water systems, to conduct an investigation and remediation of our water systems. The evaporative cooling system was disinfected as recommended by Cooling Technology Institute guidelines to maintain a minimum of 10 ppm free chlorine for 24 hours. The cooling towers were then flushed, drained and physically cleaned.”

The Department of Health’s three areas of focus were the fountain in the lobby of 250 Cetronia Road, the fountain outside the lobby and the evaporative cooling system.

Integrated Health said it immediately shut down the outdoor fountain and the fountain in the lobby had been drained, eliminating both fountains as a continuing risk. Water test results are pending.

Keane has additionally audited and tested the potable water systems, which is routinely chlorinated and is very unlikely to be the source.A s a precaution, the potable water system was remediated, said Integrated Health.

“I give IHC credit,” said Keane. “The same day they were made aware of the cases in the area they immediately contacted us. We eliminated two possible sources and have completed sanitizing the third.”

Keane was onsite Thursday, Oct. 24 to begin the audit and sampling. The DOH conducted their own inspection and obtained water samples on Friday, Oct. 25.

According to the Department of Health, in light of the rapid and extensive remediation, it is acceptable to continue business as usual at Integrated Health Campus.