Legionella Bacteria Causes Closure of Chester County High School

There have been no cases of Legionnaire's Disease at Kennett High School

The presence of the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' Disease caused a Chester County high school to close Friday.

Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent Barry Tomasetti posted a letter to the schools website explaining how school officials discovered the potentially deadly bacteria.

"We are notifying you that during routine testing of the hot water systems at Kennett High School, a positive test result for legionella bacteria was confirmed," Tomasetti said.

No injuries were reported and the school began taking actions to get rid of the bacteria.

"In response to this test result, we have consulted with the Chester County Health Department and contracted with an environmental remediation firm to eliminate the bacteria," Tomasetti said. "As a proactive measure, we have discontinued use of the boiler room spigot where the positive sample was taken and as an additional precaution shut down all showers.

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"According to the Health Department, the presence of the bacteria, which are commonly found in water, is no concern for alarm at this time. The Health Department officials stated that there are no confirmed reports of Legionnaires’ disease and the Health Department would not be issuing a public advisory at this time."

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection named after a 1976 outbreak among people at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. If contracted, legionella is rarely spread from person to person but rather by breathing in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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