The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced in August that two cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported that month from a section of Hamilton Township, Mercer County, served by Trenton Water Works (TWW). Two other local cases had been reported in the previous nine months.
Tragically, of the four cases, there has been one fatality. NJDOH, in conjunction with the Hamilton Township Division of Health, are investigating the cases and searching for the likely source of the Legionella bacteria that caused the infections.
According to NJDOH:
As part of these ongoing efforts, the Hamilton Township Division of Health and NJDOH recruited 20 homeowners from Hamilton Township to voluntarily have their homes tested for Legionella. Water samples collected from more than half of the homes served by TWW identified the presence of Legionella, including in samples of the cold water entering homes. It is possible for Legionella to enter buildings and homes when receiving treated drinking water. However, health officials are concerned about the number of homes with Legionella in areas serviced by TWW. There is concern that Legionella may be present in other buildings and homes in the area, particularly in the areas of Hamilton Township served by TWW.
“Legionnaires' disease is a serious type of pneumonia that can occur when people inhale water droplets or mists containing Legionella bacteria,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “It is found naturally in freshwater environments, but can become a health concern if it grows and spreads in building water system. In an August 29th news release, NJDOH provided some suggestions for area residents to help decrease their risk of Legionella exposure and best practices to limit the growth of Legionella in household water systems and devices.”
Proactive testing of manmade water systems, as part of a water management program to detect Legionella exposure risks, can be instrumental in preventing these dangerous infections. With laboratories across the United States and Canada, EMSL Analytical offers traditional culturing methods, and rapid PCR and Whole Genome Sequencing test methods, to help in these efforts. 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.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories 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-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com 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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