Jefferson County Department of Health investigating Legionella o - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jefferson County Department of Health investigating Legionella outbreak

Posted: Updated:
Update:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Health workers say that the right steps have been taken to stop Legionnaires' disease at UAB hospital.

We learned a 9th person, a visitor to the Women and Infants Center, got the disease.

UAB identified the problem May 7th, but the Jefferson County Department of Health says the outbreak didn't become apparent until May 19th.

Legionella is a common bacterium found in water, especially warm water.

UAB hospital believes the outbreak in the Women and Infants Center could be from the plumbing system.

The hospital spoke out about the outbreak for the first time.

Dr. Loring Rue, the Senior Vice President for Quality for the health system, says "The exact pinpoint location we're not clear yet. That's an on-going process to evaluate that."

Nine people have now tested positive. The water system only affects floors 5 through 7.

The hospital identified the problem May 7th.

Dr. Loring Rue says UAB notified patients who might have been exposed that were considered high risk.

The water system has been treated to kill any bacteria. Water filters were also added to protect patients.

Dr. Loring says, "Since we did the initial treatment which completed on May 9th, there have been no additional cases of patients testing positive."

Dr. Rue says UAB didn't alert the public sooner because the risk to the general public is very low.
It was focused on addressing the problem.

"I think we relied on thinking the public health agencies would be the main mode of communication to the public at large. Our commitment is to our patients."

The Jefferson County Health Department says making a diagnosis is more than just a test.

Dr. Mark Wilson says, "It takes time for tests to come back from a laboratory. There are a lot of people that have a positive urine test, which is the most common test for this, that are not ill. So it's a very complex process that takes time."

Dr. Mark Wilson says this is an on-going investigation and the Centers for Disease Control was asked to come in late this past week.

He points out unless you've been a patient in the areas of concern or been a visitor exposed to water droplets.. you are not considered to be at risk.

Patients are still wearing masks to flush the toilet.
Dr. Rue says tests were recently sent to a third party for another check.
    
Results should be back Friday.


The Jefferson County Health Department is working with the state department of health in this outbreak investigation.

Tonight, the department of health answers questions about the investigation into these cases.

Dr. Mark Wilson, the medical officer with the Jefferson County Department of Health says there is no reason to believe that the Birmingham water works system has been compromised.

Wilson says it took longer to report the Legionella outbreak because it was and is an ongoing investigation. 

It takes time for test results for Legionella to come back from laboratory.

Dr. Wilson says Legionella is a common bacteria found in water, cooling towers, hotels and cruise ships.

Those who were on the fifth through seventh floors of women and infants center at UAB, who came in contact with water droplets are at risk.

The ninth person who tested positive was a visitor, who had a form of chronic lung disease.

Again, Wilson says this is an ongoing investigation to learn more about who is at risk.

"The investigation is widening, to make sure that visitors and other folks have been checked out. So it is an expanding process starting with those at highest risk and going to the lower risk," Wilson says.

If you were a visitor to UAB's women and infant care center and you experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath or fever, you should seek a doctor.

People without those symptoms shouldn't be concerned.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
  • Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Fire danger rises for Labor Day weekend

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:59 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:59:40 GMT
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
    Our recent dry weather has created the perfect conditions for fire danger. More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:32:28 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    UPDATE: Crews restore water service in Birmingham's Norwood area

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:04 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:04:24 GMT
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
    Crews with the Birmingham waters board are still trying to fix a water main break that erupted yesterday in the Norwood area. According to spokeswoman Binnie Myles the break involves a 20 inch main sandwiched in between two gas lines.More >>
  • Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Car crashes into Birmingham house

    Sunday, August 31 2014 10:18 PM EDT2014-09-01 02:18:57 GMT
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
    Neighbors living on 16th Way Southwest in Birmingham say they're dealing with a serious problem.Numerous accidents are happening around a dangerous curve.Sunday a car slammed into a house.Neighbors say no one was hurt. But there are many concerns."I was wondering was I going to run or duck, was it going to hit our home." But a dodge charger hit the house across the street from Marcus Yarbrough's house. "I heard the car coming, screeching around the corner." "Instead of having a head on collis...More >>
  • No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    No more parking under I-20/59 bridges starting Tuesday

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:29:44 GMT
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>
    Starting this Tuesday, parking spots under the Interstate 20/59 bridges near the BJCC in downtown Birmingham will be eliminated. Crews have put up at least one large sign, warning drivers of the change. SomeMore >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...