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DHEC Investigates Cluster of Legionnaires’ Disease in South Carolina

EMSL Analytical offers rapid PCR and traditional culturing methods to identify Legionella from environmental samples to help prevent new cases of Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.

Huntington Beach, CA – WEBWIRE

Last month, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced it was investigating a cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Darlington County. There have been 13 cases of the disease that have been identified as part of the outbreak so far.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of pneumonia caused by bacteria known as Legionella. While the bacteria can be found naturally in the environment, typically in water, some manmade sources can also provide an ideal environment for the bacteria to multiply.

According to the agency’s news release:
DHEC’s investigation includes efforts to determine the source of the disease cluster in the community. Investigations into these types of Legionnaires’ clusters are complex. It is often not possible to determine the origin of the bacteria that infected people. Water from cooling towers, hot tubs, misters, decorative fountains and plumbing systems are possible sources of infection.

“While most people aren’t at risk for serious infections due to exposure to Legionella, for those segments of the population that are, infections can be deadly in about 10% of cases according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Infections can occur when a person inhales droplets of contaminated water from a building water system or other source that is not adequately maintained.”

With a Legionella testing facility in nearby North Carolina, and many others as part of EMSL’s Network of laboratories spread across the United States and Canada, EMSL Analytical offers environmental testing services for Legionella and a wide range of other pathogens. These services can help to identify the source of an outbreak - like the one that occurred in Darlington County, and support proactive water management programs to prevent outbreaks in the first place. EMSL’s scientists provide traditional culturing methods as well as rapid PCR and Whole Genome Sequencing test methods. A number of their laboratories have received the CDC’s Certificate of Proficiency from its Elite Program for Legionella testing and some are also NYSDOH ELAP Legionella certified.

To learn more about Legionella or other microbial testing services, please visit or, email or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 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, VOCs, 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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