Dec 28, 2018

Legionella Bacteria Discovered at West Michigan Hospital

The hospital has switched to bottled water upon discovering Legionella bacteria

Legionella discovered at west Michigan hospital
Legionella discovered at west Michigan hospital

One death has been reported following a Legionnaire’s disease outbreak at the Spectrum Health Pennock Hospital in Hasting, Mich. On Dec. 27, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria in the hospital’s water supply after two patients at the hospital were diagnosed with the waterborne disease.

According to local news source WWMT, a first patient was diagnosed with the disease in September with another case in November, prompting the hospital-wide water testing.

“We cannot correlate the two cases of Legionnaire’s disease and the bacteria in the water,” said Daniel Woodhall, medical director at the health department.

Since the discovery earlier this week, the hospital has switched to bottled water and a new filtration system will be installed by the end of the week. The hospital has said that once the new filter is installed, they will no longer need to use bottled water.

“The [new filtration system] will take care of that. We will no longer need to use bottled water,” said Angela Ditmar, president of Spectrum Health Pennock. “With the water treatment system that we are putting in place too, that’s the long-term plan, it needs to be in place for a  certain amount of time before we can do further cultures.”

In the meantime, doctors are recommending any patients in the hospital who experience flu-like symptoms should be tested for Legionnaire’s disease, though they stress that the risk is low now that the building is using bottled water, as reported by MLive.