Legionella bacteria shuts down hot water at U of Windsor

Legionella bacteria shuts down hot water at U of Windsor

Hot water has been cut off at several University of Windsor buildings following the discovery of legionella bacteria in the water system.

The bacteria was discovered in areas of Chrysler Hall Tower, Dillon Hall and Assumption Hall as part of a preventative maintenance program. 

No illnesses have been reported and the university is continuing to investigate and awaiting test results from other buildings.

Legionella contamination could lead to legionnaires' disease, which is a bacterial pneumonia that is often spread through valves that contain humidity and vapour, like air conditioners.

Symptoms of legionnaires' disease can include pneumonia, fever, cough, muscle pain and headache, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Symptoms start within 2 to 14 days of infection, and can last for several months. Cases of legionnaires' are difficult to detect because fewer than five per cent of people exposed to the bacteria get infected.

The legionella bacterium is often spread through cooling and heating units on the tops of buildings. It occurs when water contaminated with certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs.