Contractors at Wayne State University diagnosed with Legionnaires disease

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Two employees of a contracting firm working on apartments at Wayne State University have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

The contractors were working on the new Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments, and are receiving treatment according to a WSU news release Monday.  The health departments in Detroit and the counties in which the workers live have confirmed the cases. 

In early June the university issued a campus alert after cooling towers on three campus buildings tested positive for legionella. The campus buildings affected were the Towers Residential Suites, the Purdy/Kresge Library and the College of Education Building. 

A news release Sunday said that with the exception of The Towers Residential Suites, the other cooling towers have "extremely low or non-detectable levels of Legionella bacterium."

In a statement Monday, the school said, "It is difficult to determine with any certainty how and where the workers contracted the disease. However, our comprehensive plan of testing and remediation is continuing. 

"PathCon Laboratories, our outside legionella remediation experts, have tested and retested all the cooling towers on campus. With the exception of Towers Residential Suites, all of the cooling towers have low or non-detectable levels of legionella bacteria. The cooling tower on Towers Residential Suites will remain out of operation until we get consistently acceptable test results in that location. The Detroit Health Department will be reviewing all remediation plans and will approve our plans to put the cooling tower back online."

The university encourages anyone with symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to seek medical treatment immediately. 

"Symptoms include coughing, fever, aches and pains, chills and occasionally nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should be especially vigilant if you are 50 or older; if you smoke or are a former smoker; or if you have chronic liver or kidney disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.

"We will continue to update the campus community."

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