Legionella bacteria discovered in part of hot water system at Sycamore Medical Center

Legionella bacteria discovered in part of hot water system at Sycamore Medical Center
Kettering Health Network (FILE)

MIAMISBURG — Legionella bacteria, a source for the pneumonia illness Legionnaires' disease, was discovered during recent, proactive testing at Sycamore Medical Center, according to a spokesperson for Kettering Health Network.

The bacteria was found in a pump that delivers hot water to a section of the Miamisburg hospital, the spokesperson said.

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“Upon receipt of the test results, immediate precautions for patients, staff, and visitors were put in place, such as flushing the hot water system and installing additional filters throughout the hospital,” the spokesperson said.

Additional test results to confirm the removal of the bacteria following the flushing of the system are pending.

“There has been no interruption of hospital operations or any confirmed infections due to the water,” the spokesperson said. “Hospital leaders reported the matter to the Ohio Department of Health and Dayton-Montgomery County Public Health and will continue to keep health officials updated.”

The hospital is the latest building in the region to receive a positive test for presence of the bacteria. Several school districts across the region including, Kettering, Vandalia-Butler, Northmont, Dayton Public, and Milton-Union have all previously had buildings receive positive test results for presence of the bacteria.

Legionella is a bacteria that can cause a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Legionella can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems.

The discovery of Legionella bacteria at Fairmont High School was made after WHIO-TV began investigating water system issues there, when a second Kettering schools employee was diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease in June. The condition of the second employee was not been disclosed.

Former sanitation supervisor Keith “Casey” Chaffin died in May 2019. His last shift at Fairmont was less than a month earlier, April 15, Kettering school officials have said.

According to Casey Chaffin’s death certificate, he died from Legionella pneumonia, multi-system organ failure and acute systolic heart failure, a Montgomery County coroner’s spokesperson said in July.

In 2019, Montgomery County had three deaths due to Legionnaires' disease, including Chaffin’s death. In 2020, there has been one death in February attributed to the disease.