05 January 2013 | SPL News

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a VA hospital in Pittsburgh has led to at least one death and sent hospital administration searching for the source of the contamination.

News of the outbreak broke in November when it was discovered that at least four patients at the University Drive VA Medical Center in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ (Legionellosis), a potentially fatal disease caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.

Interestingly, the Pittsburgh VA Health Care System was once a world-renowned center of Legionella research. Following the outbreak at a convention of the American Legion at a hotel in Philadelphia in July 1976 — which gave the disease its name — VA began intense investigations into the disease. In fact, a VA researcher, Janet Stout, PhD, is credited with discovering that the bacteria is transmitted through an infected water supply.