The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has had to close a number of its buildings in Atlanta after finding Legionella in the water systems, CNN reports.
It adds that the buildings, which the CDC leases, had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, upon reopening, found that the bacteria had grown in the water systems. According to the agency, Legionnaires' disease can lead to pneumonia when the bacteria is breathed in as mist, such as from a shower or a centralized air conditioner that uses water-containing cooling towers. Most healthy people who are exposed do not become ill, but people over the age of 50 or with preexisting conditions like lung disease or cancer are at increased risk of becoming ill, it adds.
Legionnaires' disease, the CDC tells CNN, is an issue that other organizations need to be aware of as shuttered offices, factories, hotels, and other buildings open. Chris Edens from CDC's Legionella group tells it that addressing Legionella is fairly straightforward as they recommend flushing the system by running the taps.
"You want to keep the cold water cold and you want to keep your hot water hot," Edens adds at CNN, since Legionella grows best at temperatures between 80° and 120° Fahrenheit.