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Legionella Testing Laboratory

Category Press Release
Publish Date 2/7/2020
Author Ashley Aneses
Title EMSL’s Chicago Laboratory Offers Legionella Testing Services and Sampling Supplies
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers traditional culturing and rapid PCR test methods to quickly and accurately identify the pathogen that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Chicago, IL, February 7th , 2020

In January, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that three elderly residents contracted Legionnaires’ disease from two separate Chicago nursing homes. The two nursing homes are now part of an investigation for the source of the disease due to those residents being diagnosed with Legionnaires’ shortly after they had been staying at the locations; the two facilities don’t appear to be related.

According to health officials, the residents sickened at both locations were reported to be at the facilities 10 days before they started showing signs of the infection. Legionnaires’ disease causes flu-like symptoms including high fever, chills, muscle pain and headaches, which typically manifest between 5 - 6 days from exposure to Legionella bacteria, but can take as long as 14 days to display. Exposure to the bacteria will usually not result in Legionnaires’ in healthy individuals, but those who have a weakened immune system or are 65 years of age or older, are more likely to contract the illness. Both Chicago nursing homes notified residents and staff of the cases, and have since implemented processes to reduce exposure to Legionella by installing water filters and hiring a water management company, said health officials.

Legionnaires’ disease can occur when people inhale water vapor contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Certain populations of people are more susceptible to become seriously ill when infected, including the elderly, smokers and people with chronic lung disease.

Legionella bacteria often thrive in our building water systems and can be contracted by inhaling aerosols of contaminated water that contain the bacteria,” said Christopher Goulah, Ph.D., Legionella Program Director at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Common dissemination sources of the bacteria include hot tubs, showers, humidifiers, nebulizers and cooling towers.”

The scientists at EMSL Analytical, Inc. provide Legionella testing services to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. With laboratories throughout the United States and Canada, EMSL offers traditional culturing methods and advanced PCR and DNA sequencing test methods to rapidly identify Legionella. EMSL has 20 CDC ELITE Legionella testing locations and offer free sampling supplies nationwide. In addition, five laboratories are certified by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) for Legionella analysis by ISO 11731.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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