Mpls. VA hospital filters water after Legionnaires bacteria detected

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The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs hospital is taking precautions against Legionnaires disease after tests of their water system turned up the bacteria that cause the disease.

KARE 11 reports a memo written by local VA director Patrick Kelly says no cases of the disease have been reported and the preventive steps are being taken out of "an overabundance of caution."

According to the Star Tribune, routine testing on Nov. 19 found the Legionella bacteria in five out of 40 water samples.

VA officials told the newspaper filters have been installed and the water system is being flushed to remove the bacteria.

Legionnaires disease

The disease was first identified in 1976 when it struck delegates to an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

The respiratory disease is a form of pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. In less serious cases, the bacteria lead to something called Pontiac fever, which the CDC says is like a mild case of the flu.

Mayo Clinic notes Legionnaires disease is not contagious and people get it from inhaling the bacteria from water vapor.

The CDC says the number of people hospitalized with Legionnaires disease ranges from 8,000 to 18,000 per year.

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