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VA lifts water restrictions at Heinz campus following Legionnaires' outbreak

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By Adam Smeltz
Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 4:12 p.m.
 

The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System lifted water-use restrictions at 11 a.m. Friday for its H.J. Heinz Campus near Aspinwall.

Testing revealed Legionella bacteria in the tap water there in November. One of five cases of Legionnaires' disease identified at another VA Pittsburgh facility, the University Drive Campus in Oakland, might be tied to the Heinz campus, spokesman David Cowgill has said.

One Legionnaires' patient died, according to the Allegheny County Health Department. Health officials have not released the patient's name.

Water restrictions at the University Drive Campus were lifted Nov. 30, about two weeks after the VA announced a Legionnaires' outbreak originated there. Thorough cleaning purged the tap water of Legionella, according to the VA.

Similar cleaning purged the bacteria from the Heinz campus, the VA reported. Temporary precautions had included the use of bottled water and specialized shower filters.

Legionnaires', a form of pneumonia, is a waterborne disease. Most healthy people with robust immune systems do not contract the ailment, even when exposed to the Legionella bacteria.

Adam Smeltz is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-380-5676or asmeltz@tribweb.com.

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