Officials say Legionella discovery should not disrupt routines

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) - Health officials are urging people to stick to their regular routines, even as they look into the Legionnaire's Disease outbreak in the Shoals. Tests turned up Legionella bacteria in air conditioning cooling towers at the Regency Square Mall in Florence, as well as the Southwire plant.

Officials said the locations remain safe for the general public. Despite the ongoing investigation into the Legionella outbreak, they said it is important for community members to continue their daily routines – even if that means going to the mall.

Health officials said all three cooling towers which tested positive for the bacteria have been shut down for about a week, if not longer. They said they have not had new cases of Legionella reported since Oct. 10. At this time, it is still unclear if those towers are linked to the cases from the Glenwood Nursing Home.

Dr. Karen Landers said not everyone needs to be concerned about the outbreak – as we have reported before, people who have severe underlying health issues and the elderly are the most susceptible to the pneumonia, and not everyone who comes in contact with the germ gets sick.

"I think the most important message that we can give right now is that the community should not alter its daily activities. People can certainly go to the mall and shop, and go out and do their normal activities," Dr. Landers said.

On Tuesday, Regency Square Mall released a statement reiterating Dr. Landers' comments:

Dr. Karen Landers, Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, has stated that mall employees and customers can shop at the Mall and go about their normal activities without concern. Regency Square Mall is open, and we echo her statement that there is no health hazard to shoppers or employees.

On Thursday, October 17th, the Mall sterilized its cooling towers and continues to monitor the towers regularly. The Mall and the Alabama Department of Public Health will continue to ensure that the mall environment is safe for its patrons and employees.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.