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Legionnaires' Outbreak from Legionella

Category Press Release
Publish Date 8/18/2015
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Death Toll Mounts as Additional Cooling Towers in New York Found to Harbor Legionella
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers environmental testing services and sampling supplies to quickly and accurately identify the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.

New York, NY, August 18 th, 2015

Health and safety officials continued their efforts to inspect and test cooling towers across the South Bronx in their ongoing battle to stop the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. So far, multiple cooling towers have been identified that harbored the Legionella bacteria, including five more towers last week. On August 17th, Governor Cuomo of New York State has mandated that every cooling tower needs to be registered and tested.
Legionnaires’ disease can result when small droplets of water containing the bacteria are inhaled or aspirated. This outbreak has been the worst in New York’s history. As of August 10th, it has already claimed 12 lives and infected at least 113 people.  
Cooling towers have been implicated in the recent outbreak in New York City. However, most of the cases of Legionnaires’ disease come from drinking water systems, such as faucets and showers, in buildings that house elderly or immune-compromised people. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 25% of the cases occur from traveling and the associated hotel stays. Hotels are often linked to cases since potable water stagnates between room occupancy.
“While many of the existing guidelines recommend testing cooling tower water and potable water systems for total bacterial counts, pH and residual chlorine, the only way to know for sure if Legionella is present is to test for it,” said Diane Miskowski, MPH, Legionella Program Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “There are PCR testing methods that can give results in one day, but they do not indicate if the bacteria are alive. It is an excellent analytical method for rapid results. However, traditional culturing methods remain the gold standard and both the culture and PCR can be used together effectively during an outbreak.”
To provide information about Legionella and sampling techniques, EMSL Analytical, Inc. now offers a Legionella Pocket Guide. To get a free copy of this guide, please click here. EMSL is also hosting a free Comprehensive Legionella webinar on Wednesday, September 16th. Click here to register today.
To learn more about Legionella testing services or to request sampling supplies, please visit or, email or call (800) 220-3675.


About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies. 

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