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Legionnaires’ disease Outbreak at VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA

EMSL Analytical boasts 5 CDC ELITE proficient labs nationwide to assist our clients with their risk assessment monitoring for Legionella bacteria.


According to CBS News, the VA Hospital located in Pittsburgh, PA has experienced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease after the bacterium was discovered in the hospital’s water system. Although the hospital and government officials were aware of the bacterium, patients admitted into the hospital were not informed.

Since January 2011, twenty-nine patients have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease at the Veterans Administration hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Five patients acquired the disease from the hospital, eight were infected elsewhere, and in sixteen cases the source has not been determined, according to CNN.

Of those affected by the bacterium, two have died. One man died in December 2012 after contracting the disease at the hospital where he was being treated for nausea from his medication. The other man died in July 2011 after being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ at the hospital where he had been living for several months, according to CNN.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe flu-like infection that is contracted by breathing in a mist or vapor that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The bacteria can grow in the biofilm in a multitude of warm water sources including water cooling towers, hot tubs, faucets, and showerheads. Children, the elderly, and individuals in poor health are more susceptible to developing a severe infection.

“Legionnaires’ disease is not spread person to person, and in order for an individual to contract it, one must inhale mist or vapor from a water supply that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria,” states Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, a leading Legionella testing lab. “EMSL Analytical has proudly passed the CDC Legionella Testing Proficiency Program in our Cinnaminson, NJ; Houston, TX; San Leandro, CA; Indianapolis, IN; and Manhattan laboratories where we conduct Legionella testing by both the culture method and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nation’s leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public.




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