HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hauppauge High School on Long Island has become the latest institution to find legionella bacteria in its cooling towers.
The Hauppauge School District superintendent sent a letter to parents, telling them the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease were found in the cooling tower system that services the high school.
The tower is not connected to drinking or sanitation water, the letter said.
The superintendent said in the letter that the concentration of Legionella bacteria found in the tower was “slightly higher” than acceptable under new state standards.
The tower has been disinfected, and there have been no reports of Legionnaires’ disease from faculty or students at the school, the letter said.
There were no reports of Legionnaires’ disease at any of the Smithtown district schools. The testing in both Hauppauge and Smithtown was conducted as a response to the Legionnaires’ outbreak in the Bronx that has killed more than a dozen people since July.
Legionella bacteria were also found this week at the cooling towers at the Connetquot School District Cenral Office building in Bohemia.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett has said she doesn’t believe the Morris Park cases are connected to the earlier outbreak.
Legionnaires’ disease — a form of pneumonia especially dangerous for the elderly and for people with underlying health issues — can usually be traced to places favorable to Legionella growth such as cooling towers, hot water tanks, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers and condensers in large air conditioning systems. The city says its drinking water supply has not been affected.
It is spread through contaminated mist and cannot be spread from person to person.
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