Pittsburgh Legionnaires Lab Closes

Aug. 3, 2006

A laboratory in Pittsburgh known for its groundbreaking research in Legionnaires' disease closed recently.

The Special Pathogens Laboratory at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System closed its doors at the end of July. At this point, hospitals might find it difficult to find a laboratory to test for the bacteria often found in tap water that can have deadly effects.

The lab's director, Dr. Janet Stout, told the Pittsburg Tribune-Review that she was shocked by the this decision made by the hospital administration. Five other jobs were lost by the decision.

It has been 30 years’ since Legionnaires’ disease was given its’ name, and the closing coincides with the exact day of the event.

The most famous case of Legionnaires’ killed 34 people and made 221 other sick at the 58th Pennsylvania American Legion Convention in Philadelphia in 1976. The lab is credited with discovering that water was the source of the disease. The lab also created testing and disinfection methods to prevent Legionnaires’ and find a cure.

The was no official statement concerning the reason behind the closure, but Dr. Rajiv Jain, chief of staff at the Pittsburgh VA expressed concern to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review over a review of the laboratories finances, as well as clinical and research activities. Jain also expressed that all of the lab’s clinical activity would be transferred to the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System clinical laboratory.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).
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