Autopsies: Babies did not die from Legionella pneumonia

Fort Bragg (Wikimedia)

April 12, 2011 3:13:22 PM PDT
Fort Bragg officials have revealed that the presence of a small amount of Legionella bacteria was identified during environmental testing of a Fort Bragg residence in the Biazza Ridge neighborhood last month.

However, officials said that there's no link between the discovery and at least 10 baby deaths that they've been investigating. Autopsies on the infants did not indicate Legionella pneumonia.

The tests come as the Army and investigators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission try to explain the unusually high number of deaths among infants living on post. The deaths date back to 2007 and three were in one house. The most recent was on Feb. 24.

On April 1, officials said the presence of Legionella found on March 25 was 2000 CFU/L, -- well below U.S. guidelines for piped water systems which allow for 10000 CFU/L before action should be taken.

Days later, field tests for Legionella in the Biazza Ridge neighborhood all produced negative results, indicating no presence of the bacteria.

Click here to read about sampling guidelines as defined by OSHA.

Environmental testing conducted in other residences associated with the investigation have all tested negative for the Legionella bacteria, which is best grown in warm, stagnant water sources.

Last month, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command announced that lab testing in homes at Fort Bragg showed that concentrations of pesticides were not elevated and do not pose a health hazard.

And earlier this year, officials looking for possible environmental causes announced that testing on drywall in post housing did not show any toxic chemicals.

In the meantime, Fort Bragg says it will continue to keep soldiers and their families informed on the status of the testing and investigations.

For more information about drinking water regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, click here.

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