Saturday, July 26, 2008

The test results

I am glad to say that test results received yesterday show no Legionella bacteria in the cooling tower of an office building on the campus on the Community General Hospital.

As reported in the news media (see "No more Legionella in cooling tower" on WSYR-TV), that tower has been the investigated by the hospital, along with the county and state health departments, in connection with Legionnaires’ disease. The hospital has also relied on independent experts, such Janet Stout, PhD, a national authority on Legionella and water systems.

To identify Legionella, a laboratory grows cultures of the organism from samples of water. To encourage the growth, the lab adds nutrients to a Petri dish containing the sample. The dish typically contains antimicrobial agents, as well, to inhibit the growth of other bacteria, thereby improving the chances of finding Legionella.

In the photo, above, the Petri dish on the left shows no growth of Legionella after seven days from a water sample obtained from the office building cooling tower. For comparison purposes, the lab provided me with a photo that shows what Legionella looks like (in the Petri dish, on the right) after four days of growth. The comparison sample was from a source not associated with Central New York. For a better look at the Petri dishes, click on the photo.

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