Industrial cooling towers blamed for Legionellosis outbreak in Italy

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A Pneumonia outbreak in Northern Italy which has affected more than 400 people and caused two deaths has been linked to contaminated water from industrial water cooling towers.

“We checked the cooling towers of all the factories in the three most affected municipalities and practically all tested positive,’’ regional Health Commissioner, Giulio Gallera, said in a Tuesday interview with the TG5 news programme.

The towers tested positive to Legionella, a water-borne bacteria which causes a severe form of pneumonia called legionellosis, which can be caught by breathing in contaminated water droplets.

The outbreak, starting at the beginning of September, concerned the provinces of Brescia and Mantua in an area about 100 to 120 kilometres east of Milan and stretching up to 60 kilometres south of Lake Garda.

In a Monday statement, Lombardy regional authorities said a total of 405 people had caught pneumonia and 42 were diagnosed with legionellosis.

Authorities initially suspected a contamination of public water supplies, but this was ruled out.

Throughout the crisis, local residents were told that tap water remained safe to drink because even if it were infected it was not dangerous as long as there was no direct contact with lungs. (Dpa/NAN)

– Sept. 18, 2018 @ 12:49 GMT |

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