Saturday, November 28, 2015

Philadelphia school worker contracted Legionnaires' disease, district says

Legionella. (Source:
Legionella. (Source:

A maintenance worker for the Philadelphia School District is home recovering from a serious bout with Legionnaires' disease, after being treated at a hospital earlier this month.

The man worked recently on air conditioning units at McKinley Elementary School in North Philadelphia and Martin Luther King High School in Germantown, the district said in a statement today, adding that no other cases of the potentially deadly type of pneumonia — contracted from bacteria in stagnant water — have been reported.

"The Philadelphia Department of Public Health [PDPH] advised the District that the employee, whose identity was withheld, worked near cooling towers at Martin Luther King High School and McKinley Elementary School," the district said in a statement. "No other cases were reported as related to the schools. At this time, there is no indication that the employee contracted the disease at a District facility."

A message left for the worker through a friend was not immediately returned this afternoon. A friend said he was home recovering but would likely be out of work for a bit longer after suffering from what doctors described to him as a very bad bout of pneumonia.

The district had tests done at both schools to find out if any more of the bacteria behind the disease was detected, but the results were not yet known.

"Although it was not required by PDPH, the District tested potential Legionella sources (i.e., cooling tower and HVAC components) at both schools as a precaution. We are awaiting final results," the district said.

The school year in Philadelphia begins Monday, Sept. 9.

Contact Brian X. McCrone at 215-854-2267 or Follow @brianxmccrone on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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