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The CDC chose Spartan Bioscience, an Ottawa-based biotechnology company, to assist with a Legionnaires’ outbreak in Chesterfield, VA.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) identified an increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in Chesterfield County and requested assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During the investigation, the CDC Pneumonia Response Laboratory used Spartan’s on-site Legionella qPCR test and found Legionella bacteria in 74% of sites.
“We are pleased to see Spartan’s on-site Legionella qPCR test being used around the world to test for Legionella contamination,” said Paul Lem, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Founder of Spartan Bioscience. “We are honored that the CDC trusts Spartan for fast, accurate Legionella detection.”
A critical component to controlling the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19 and Legionnaires’, is the use of molecular testing. This type of testing allows for fast, accurate results in under an hour. Other testing methods for Legionella, such as culture testing, are important during investigations when genetically linking patient and environmental Legionella isolates. Unfortunately, culture testing requires samples to be shipped off to a lab and can take 14 days to get results. This is too slow since Legionella can grow to levels that are dangerous to human health in as few as seven days.
“It’s almost like the symptoms came out of nowhere. There was a build-up of pneumonia in my lungs and my fever of 42 degrees (107 degrees Fahrenheit) wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. My oxygen levels were all over the charts and I was placed in isolation in the intensive care unit for eight days. After three days of struggling to control my temperature, my situation progressed to severe pneumonia and they informed my wife that my situation was critical. There was a 24-hour window where it was very touch-and-go whether I would survive.” – Clive Spooner, Legionnaires’ disease survivor
With water systems now being shut down due to COVID-19 business closures, buildings are at an increased risk for Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. Both the CDC and ASHRAE have published important guidance for Legionella risk mitigation as buildings reopen and encourage the development of a comprehensive water management program (WMP). Legionella testing is a useful tool for validating the WMP and can be completed in under an hour with Spartan’s Legionella test.
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