ROME (AP) — Officials in northern Italy say they have confirmed that commercial water cooling towers were the source of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that sent more than 400 people to the hospital with pneumonia. Two people died.
Of the 10 tests on samples taken from three cooling towers in the three hardest-hit towns, nine tested positive for the Legionnaires’ bacteria.
Lombardy’s top welfare official, Giulio Gallera, announced a sanitizing program and said in a statement Monday that while some bacteria was found in stagnant water along the Chiesa river, the water supply is safe to drink in the city of Brescia.
In all, 405 people have been hospitalized with pneumonia since the outbreak began earlier this month; 42 tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia that is usually caused by inhaling droplets from a contaminated water source.
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