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Regency Square Mall, Southwire in Florence Test Positive for Legionella Bacteria

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Department of Public Health reported on Monday that positive environmental cultures for Legionella bacteria have been found at two cooling towers at Regency Square Mall and one cooling tower at Southwire, a wire, cable and cord manufacturer.

The ADPH is investigating the possibility of a link between the cooling towers and Glenwood Nursing Home, where all known cases of Legionella in Florence originated from, according to the ADPH.

The cooling towers at Regency Square Mall and Southwire have been turned off as a precaution and both business owners are working with the health department to properly clean the towers.

The ADPH said that cooling towers on rooftops can dispense water droplets over some distance.

According to Dr. Karen Landers, the assistant State Health Officer for the ADPH, there are 15 confirmed Legionella pneumonia cases and ten suspected cases in Florence.  Lab results for the ten suspected cases are still pending.

Dr. Landers stated, “Over the past week, our physicians, hospitals, and urgent care clinics have been working with the health department to identify any new patients with Legionella. They are taking our advice to do additional testing for Legionella on their pneumonia patients.”

Glenwood, which is located on Ana Drive, remains open.   Facility managers released a statement Friday, saying they have taken a proactive approach as they work with health officials to stop the outbreak.

Legionella pneumonia is not transmitted from person to person.  People get it when they breathe in a mist or vapor containing the bacteria.  Legionella pneumonia is caused by a germ that occurs naturally in the environment.  The germ grows best in warm water.  Some places where the germ can be found include hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.