BONHAM (CBSDFW.COM) – Water samples taken at the VA North Texas facility in Bonham have tested positive for legionella bacteria. The bacteria was detected in the community living center at the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center.
A spokesman from the VA North Texas said Friday it is treating two patients with Legionnaires’ disease. Neither person contracted the disease at a VA facility. Both patients are being treated at the Dallas VA Medical Center.
The most recent round of water tests did not turn up any positive samples for legionella bacteria in that facility. But as a precaution, workers performed a hyper-chlorination flush of the entire water system at the facility this week.
Testing in June found three water faucets in patient rooms were positive for the bacteria. Repeated testing found a total of five positive samples. The VA took the faucets with positive tests out of service. Test results are expected back next week, following the chlorine flush done Monday.
Legionella bacteria can cause a severe strain of pneumonia, typically in patients with weakened immune systems. It’s contracted by breathing in water vapor with the bacteria.
After the positive tests, the VA North Texas put staff on heightened awareness for symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease among patients. It is testing water quarterly.
This is at least the second round of positive samples at the facility. Last year, testing found five positive samples in Bonham and two in Dallas. There were no infections related to the bacteria then, but officials shutdown the faucets in question until the water lines were treated.
Water testing started as part of a national directive from the VA, after an outbreak in Pittsburgh where more than two dozen patients got sick and six died.
Legionella occurs naturally and is often found in buildings with large water systems. According to the CDC more cases are found during the summer. Most healthy people exposed do not become ill, and it cannot be passed from person to person.
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