(Cincinnati)--The Cincinnati VA Medical Center said Tuesday that one patient was diagnosed with legionnaires Disease in December.
Stephen Kralovic an Infectious Disease Physician at the hospital says "the patient was reported to the Health Department, and we've not had any other cases that we know of, and we are actively looking for cases."
Kralovic says it’s unknown if the patient got the disease from the VA Medical Center or not, as "the incubation period is between 2 and 10 days so not all of it was spent here so we can’t conclusively determine whether it was gotten here or not".
Kralovic says they have increased surveillance on all patients especially those who come in with a case of pneumonia.
Legionnaires Disease is a form of pneumonia and is treated with antibiotics, and treated longer then pneumonia. Kralovic says it is not spread person to person, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires Disease grows in the environment, and can be cultured in water systems in any building around the country.
Currently all VA Medical Centers in the country perform annual water sample tests. According to Kralovic the tests look for "Legionella contamination to try to do Legionella prevention in the system".
After some positive tests were reported, the VA Medical Center conducted a flush of their water system by heating up the hospitals hot water system to a very hot temperature. The heated water is then run though the end taps in an effort to, as Kralovic says, basically pasteurize the system and kill the disease.
David Ninneman, The Associate Medical Center Director said they performed the first flush in the area were the positive tests results were found, last week. A larger cleansing of the entire Medical Centers water system will be done over the first weekend in January.
After the water system is cleaned the Medical Center will continue to monitor patients and test water samples though the entire hospital.