Essential Pittsburgh
3:33 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

American Legion Recommends Prevention Plan for Legionella Outbreaks

A sample of water that was examined after a Legionnaire's outbreak, similar to one that occurred in Pittsburgh.
A sample of water that was examined after a Legionnaire's outbreak, similar to one that occurred in Pittsburgh.
Credit Megan Rosenbloom / Flickr

A new report issued by the American Legion’s System Worth Saving Task Force has made recommendations to prevent future Legionella outbreaks at the city’s VA medical center. This is in response to the death of 5 patients in 2011-2012.

Jacob Gadd, deputy director for health care and manager of the System Worth Saving program for the American Legion, discusses what measures need to be taken in order to prevent future outbreaks.

He says the report finds the Veterans Administration needs to empower its 152 hospitals to better communicate during a crisis.

"Many in the community were unaware of what efforts the Pittsburgh VA was taking to reduce the risk of legionella in the water system. When we came up and did the site visit there on November 5, and 6, that was one of the first things we heard, the community wasn’t aware of what the hospital was doing or the efforts to make it safer."

Gadd states that the communication needs to go further then just to other hospitals.

"The American legion believes that there's a short window in getting in front of a crisis and it's the VA's responsibility to let veterans in that community know if a risk happens, what steps are taken to fix it."