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Poland launches investigation as Legionella confirmed in city’s water supply – POLITICO

Legionella bacteria have been confirmed in the water supply system of the city of Rzeszów in southeastern Poland, and the ABW counterintelligence agency is investigating whether the city is the target of a deliberate contamination.

Rzeszów is Poland’s main logistical hub for sending military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and a base for US troops. The city has been the center of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the country, with 11 deaths and 144 cases so far since mid-August. The deaths were all in people between the ages of 64 and 95 with pre-existing health conditions.

Four out of nine samples tested from the Rzeszów water supply system confirmed the presence of the bacteria Legionella, which causes Legionnaire’s disease, the local sanitary and epidemiological service Sanepid announced on Monday. However, the origin of the contamination is unclear.

“At this time, the results received (…) do not provide a basis for determining the potential source of infection,” he said in a statement. Officials added that subsequent test results will help identify the source of the outbreak.

More than 100 more water samples from Rzeszów are in the process of being analyzed, Sanepid said.

A separate investigation by the Polish counterintelligence agency ABW to rule out any foul play is ongoing.

“THE [ABW] “The investigation aims to rule out any outside interference that could have led to the outbreak of the disease,” Stanisław Żaryn, deputy coordinator of Poland’s security services, said in a statement. video posted Friday.

In recent days, cases of legionellosis have appeared further afield, with a single case reported on Sunday in the Krakow region and two confirmed on Monday in the town of Ostrów Wielkopolski, about 450 kilometers west of Rzeszów.

Legionnaire’s disease, or legionellosis, could lead to a serious pneumonic infection that is dangerous especially for older people with other health conditions. According to the WHO, “the most common form of transmission is inhalation of contaminated aerosols from contaminated water”, for example via air conditioning cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, humidifiers and whirlpool spas.

Over the weekend, Rzeszów disinfected the water supply as a precaution.


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