Officials at San Antonio's sprawling Brooke Army Medical Center today reported an outbreak of Legionella bacteria, which causes the type of pneumonia called 'Legionnaire's Disease.'
Hospital spokesman Robert Whetstone says two employees of the sprawling military medical complex, which is located on The Ft Sam Houston Army post, have reported symptoms and undergone testing and treatment.
He said both worked in a building adjacent to the hospital.
"Since both people exposed to Legionella worked in the same place, Brooke Army Medical Center leadership temporarily relocated staff members who work in this specific building to an area where they can continue to work," Whetstone said in a statement. "We will continue to conduct extensive testing to determine if the building is the source of the bacteria."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Legionella is a commonly occurring bacteria found in lakes, but it can become a health hazard when it gets into the cooling systems of buildings, and is spread through small droplets that can be inhaled. It is not spread from person to person.
Healthy people are at low risk from Legionella, Whetstone said.
Whetstone said the symptoms have not been identified in any patients at the hospital or in the surrounding San Antonio Military Medical Center, which is the largest health care complex in the Department of Defense. High profile patients from the exiled Shah of Iran in 1979 to accused deserter Bowe Bergdahl IN 2014 have been treated at the hospital, which was the first stop back in the US for many service personnel who were wounded in in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Whetstone said tests are underway to try to determine the origin of the bacteria.