Hospital in Huntington reports recurrence of Legionella bacteria

West Virginia

This 1978 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Legionella pneumophila bacteria which are responsible for causing the pneumonic disease Legionnaires’ disease. In a report released Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said annual cases of Legionnaires’ jumped more than fivefold from 2000 to 2017, and that as many as 70,000 Americans get the disease every year. High-profile recent outbreaks occurred in Atlanta and Flint, Michigan. (Francis Chandler/CDC via AP)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources says a recurrence of Legionella bacteria has been detected at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital.

The WV DHHR says screening for Legionella at the hospital became routine after it was detected earlier this year in late April from two sinks in the administration building. Health officials say the recent tests detected the bacteria in the basement level breakroom and in the CEO’s office.

After the first occurrence, the facility replaced all faucets, as well as the hot water heater, and installed a recirculation pump. On May 12, the hospital reported that the bacteria was no longer detected.

“The facility is following all recommended procedures to immediately address the issue,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. 

The WV DHHR says the two areas will be resampled and flushed. State health officials are working directly with the hospital to fix the situation.

Health officials say there is no risk to the public and the buildings will be able to remain open during the assessment and correction period.

Legionella bacteria causes a serious type of bacterial pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. It can also cause the less-serious Pontiac fever. More information about the bacteria is located on the CDC’s website.

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