Legionnaires' Bacteria Found at Berlin High School

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease turned up last week in the water system at Berlin High School, according to school administrators.

In a letter sent to parents on Oct. 23, Berlin school superintendent David Erwin said test results received on Oct.20 showed the presence of the Legionella bacteria in the water.

The school district consulted with the Central Connecticut Health District and brought in a water treatment contractor to disinfect the water system, Erwin said. The process was completed on Oct. 22.

"After consulting with the Director of Health, we do not believe these findings pose an increased risk to the health of students and staff," Erwin said in the letter.

The Legionella bacteria is found naturally in water and grows best in warm water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that normally affects people over 50, or people who have compromised immune systems or chronic lung disease, according to the CDC. Current and former smokers are also at a greater risk to contract the disease.

The most common form of exposure is to people who breath in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria.

There are an estimated 8,000 to 18,000 cases of Legionnaires' disease in the U.S. each year.

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