Officials narrow source of Legionella to 2 Shoals businesses

A recent outbreak of Legionella pneumonia has been associated with the Glenwood Nursing Home.
A recent outbreak of Legionella pneumonia has been associated with the Glenwood Nursing Home.

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - Health officials said they have found Legionella bacteria in three cooling towers and are working to determine if those towers have any connections to Glenwood Nursing Home, the facility linked to the outbreak.

Officials said two of the towers are located at Regency Square Mall, the other at Southwire, which is located in Florence's industrial park.

Tests are ongoing at the towers by state health officials to determine if there is a link between any cooling towers and the Glenwood Nursing Home outbreak. As a precaution, the towers have been turned off and the owners are working with the health department to receive information on proper cleaning of the towers.

Health officials said cooling towers on rooftops can dispense water droplets over some distance, and is the method Legionella travels - through the environment, not person-to-person.

Monday, Regency Square Mall released a statement:

Regency Square Mall uses a third party contractor to provide preventative biocidal measures for its cooling towers and has cooperated fully with the Alabama Department of Public Health in its requests to sample the chiller water.

On Thursday, October 17th, the mall voluntarily shut down and resterilized its cooling towers before any test results were available and will complete retesting before the chillers are reactivated.

Brenda Gresham has been anxiously following the news of the area's outbreak of Legionnaire's Disease. She had just come from Regency Square Mall.

"I've stayed away from the nursing home. My sister is there. I probably won't be coming back to the mall until I know more about it. I trust the Lord that he keeps me healthy," Gresham said.

Another Regency shopper, Sierra Hubbard, said she will be more resilient. "It's not going to stop me from going to Belk, no," she said.

15 people have been confirmed with the illness, another ten are suspected. Health officials said one of the confirmed patients has died, and two others remain in hospital for treatment.

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