Jun 08, 2018

Legionella Detected in Cooling Towers at Wayne State University

The university began water quality testing after a faculty member fell ill with Legionnaire’s disease

Legionella detected at Wayne State University
Legionella detected at Wayne State University

On June 7, Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, Mich., identified six campus buildings that tested positive for legionella bacteria. Cooling towers in Towers Residential Suites, Purdy Kresge Library and the College of Education Building showed signs of the bacteria, the university said in a campus alert. According to The Detroit News, the university began testing water quality after an employee who worked in the Faculty Administration Building was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease May 29.

“We have a team coming in this weekend from Atlanta to continue testing,” WSU Spokesman Matt Lockwood said. “It’s not instant, it takes about a week to get results and we’ll update people when testing resumes and keep the updates coming.”

The university has advised students and faculty to see their primary care physician if they begin to feel ill, but many students fear they were not properly notified of bacteria. According to the WSU, the legionella bacteria detected presents a low risk situation. Officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have commented that the situation is unusual because legionella bacteria often thrives in warmer months.