Legionella update

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Elmira, N.Y. (WETM)- Chemung County Health Department partners with the State Department of Health to conduct three rounds of environmental sampling as part of their investigation behind how so many people got legionella in what director from the county public health Peter Buzzetti calls a cluster.

“All of the locations that were identified by State DOH as potential sources have been tested, so at this point and time there aren’t plans to continue with environmental sampling, however we will continue to investigate any case that we get from here forward,” explained Buzzetti.

Buzzetti said one of the hardest parts about this disease is without knowing the source of the spreading, he cannot make suggestions to the public on how to better prepare themselves from contracting the disease. He also said that the bacteria is not rare.

“Legionella is very common in the environment, it’s naturally occurring in the environment, that’s one of the pieces that make this so difficult,” said Buzzetti.

One of the common misunderstandings about Legionella, according to Buzzetti, is how it’s contracted.

“Legionella is already everywhere and to get Legionella you cannot get it from person to person, and it has to be aerosolized,” Buzzettie explained.

He said that it’s in the soil as well as the water, but you cannot get sick from consuming Legionella contaminated water.

“So even if you were to drink the water contaminated with Legionella Bacteria, you wouldn’t get Legionellosis, you have to breathe it in,” said Buzzetti.

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