Legionella bacteria found in Wayne State academic building

Payne Lubbers
The Detroit News
Wayne State University Old Main building in Detroit

Wayne State University officials say they discovered elevated levels of legionella in the Old Main Building during a routine test.

The bacteria was found in the cooling tower of the building. The Old Main Building's cooling system will be shut down while the cooling tower is disinfected and cleaned.

Officials say the building will be without air conditioning or cooling fans for two to three days until the cooling tower is reinstalled. 

Water in the cooling tower is isolated within the tower and not part of a larger system. Air from the cooling towers is directed away from the building, not into it. 

Legionella bacteria can cause a serious type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, fever and muscle aches. 

The disease is not generally transmitted from person to person, but rather by breathing in droplets of water in the air containing the bacteria.  

Tuesday's discovery is the second time the bacteria has been found on Wayne State's campus in just over a year. Last June, the bacteria was found in the rooftop cooling tower of the Student Center building after a WSU employee was diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease.