No Legionnaires' bacteria found in tests at state office building

August 30, 2007

Tests at a downtown state office building where an employee came down with Legionnaires' disease were negative for the bacteria that causes the illness, officials said yesterday.

When workers arrived at the William Donald Schaefer Tower on St. Paul Street yesterday morning, they were handed a memo informing them of the lab test results, according to Dave Humphrey, a spokesman for the Department of General Services, which operates the facility.

A routine annual test done on the air-conditioning system's cooling tower showed no signs of live Legionella bacteria, he said.

The employee - the only person in the building who came down with the disease - has been released from the hospital. Symptoms of the pneumonia-like condition include fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough. It is not spread person to person but through droplets of water contaminated with the bacterium. It is treated with antibiotics.

Legionnaires' disease got its name in 1976 when an outbreak occurred during an American Legion convention in Philadelphia at a hotel where many attendees were staying.

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