For Release: Immediately
Hopkins, MN., October 12, 2016 – The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced today that based on the epidemiologic characteristics of cases and results from water sources, the most likely source of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Hopkins is the west cooling tower of Citrus Systems. The facility was previously remediated, risk for on-going exposure should be over.
Citrus Systems has cooperated fully with all agencies involved in the investigation, cleaning and disinfecting its towers promptly after being contacted by health officials. Health officials noted that Citrus has a management plan in place for its cooling towers and works with a qualified contractor for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the system.
“We don’t know in this case exactly what went wrong to cause the build-up of Legionella,” MDH Deputy State Epidemiologist Richard Danila said. “This situation clearly demonstrates how difficult it can be to keep systems free of Legionella, even when they are well-maintained.”
MDH recommends that all building managers and owners in Minnesota develop a water management program for their cooling towers according to industry standards. CDC has published a toolkit on this topic (http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/maintenance/wmp-toolkit.html).
The City of Hopkins is happy to put the outbreak behind us. The City is taking proactive action to put in place a registry for all cooling towers in the City. “Locating all of the cooling towers in the City has turned out to be one of the hardest parts of the outbreak, we want to be better prepared in the future,” said City Manager Mike Mornson.
A full version of the Department of Health's press release can be found here.
For more information regarding this press release, please contact Sergeant Michael Glassberg at (952)292-9212.
For specific symptoms of this disease and for more information please visit the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/legionellosis/hcp.html or 651-201-5414 (1-877-676-5414).