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Legionella Bacteria Found In Water At School District In Westchester

Legionella bacteria was discovered in two Scarsdale schools.
Legionella bacteria was discovered in two Scarsdale schools. Photo Credit: File

A Westchester school district is reporting that Legionella bacteria, the cause of Legionnaires’ disease has been discovered in two of its schools.

The Scarsdale School District alerted parents that legionella was found at the Scarsdale Middle School and the Quaker Ridge School, possibly caused by the extended school closures due to COVID-19, which left pipes sitting idle for months.

Testing at the school for the bacteria was conducted on Friday, Sept. 4, and the results were reported later in the month.

In response to the discovery of Legionella, the district covered all water fountains and drinking stations outside of the stations that include UV filtration systems, the district announced. Students are instead being provided with water bottles for drinking.

The district is planning additional tests moving forward to determine if and when the water is safe.

According to the CDC, “after Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria.

“Less commonly, people can get sick by aspiration of drinking water containing Legionella. This happens when water accidentally goes into the lungs while drinking. People at increased risk of aspiration include those with swallowing difficulties.”

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