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Connecticut River System and Watershed Linked to Increased Legionnaires’ Disease Rates

EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers PCR and traditional culturing methods to quickly and accurately identify the pathogen that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Wallingford, CT – WEBWIRE

In December, a Yale School Public Health study linked Connecticut watersheds to increased occurrences of Legionnaires’ disease in zip codes near rivers. Research, led by the study’s author Kelsie Cassell, concluded that findings suggest a possible link between weather conditions and the incidence of Legionnaires’ disease.

From 2005 to 2015 the rate of Legionnaire’s disease doubled in Connecticut. Cassell’s study concluded that “people living within 5 kilometers of the Naugatuck River had a 1.32 fold increase in the disease and those within 10 kilometers of the Quinebaug River were associated with a 4.73 fold increase compared to the rest of the state.” While the study demonstrates a correlation between watersheds and Legionnaires’ disease, the rivers may not be the cause from the spreading of the disease.

Legionella is commonly found in a variety of natural and building water sources and is spread through the air in the form of mist. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), showers and faucets, air conditioning cooling towers, hot tubs, fountains, hot water heaters and large plumbing systems are the most common sources for the bacterium.

“The symptoms of Legionellosis vary, including fever, chills, and coughing for Pontiac Fever to a very serious form of pneumonia with long-term health effects for Legionnaires’ disease,” said Diane Miskowski, MPH, Legionella Subject Matter Expert at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “However, the disease is significantly underreported as its symptoms closely resemble other diseases and are most times treated with antibiotics without testing for Legionnaires’ disease.”

EMSL Analytical, Inc. has been on the forefront of Legionella testing and works to maintain up-to-date certifications in order to provide quality Legionella analysis. EMSL has 20 CDC ELITE proficient Legionella laboratories within its network, which spans across the United States and Canada. EMSL also performs quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) testing for Legionella at their corporate headquarters in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. They are the only commercial testing laboratory in the country that offers qPCR testing for L. pneumophila, L. pneumophila serotype 1 and Legionella spp. in one convenient test. They can also perform Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) for outbreak source investigations involving all species and serotypes of Legionella.

As an added resource, EMSL supplies a free Legionella Pocket Guide that includes important information on the bacteria along with different sampling techniques. Click here to request a free copy. Additionally, EMSL offers a range of free webinars, including presentations about Legionella and other environmental topics. To view EMSL’s complete list of free webinars, please click here.

To view a complete list of EMSL’s Legionella laboratory locations, accreditations and capabilities, please visit For service questions, please contact EMSL’s Christopher Goulah, Ph.D., for expert information at (716) 651-0030 extension 1407 or Diane Miskowski, MPH, at (800) 220-3675 extension 2528. To view a complete list of EMSL’s laboratory locations, accreditations and capabilities, please visit For more information about EMSL’s testing services, please email  or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 42 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 Legionnaires’ disease
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