The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

December 4, 2012

Legionnaire’s probe widens at Pgh. VA

PITTSBURGH — The investigation into Legionnaire’s disease at Pittsburgh’s Veterans Affairs hospitals has widened to claims that some union workers have gotten sick there and the death of a man in October.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been investigating five cases reported last month, including one patient who died.

A widow said her husband died Oct. 23 after he was diagnosed with Legionnaire’s shortly after staying at a VA hospital for heart problems, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

And the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that union officials claim three hospital workers have gotten Legionnaire’s in the past several weeks.

VA spokesman David Cowgill said he cannot comment on the claims by Evelyn McChesney, of Columbus, Warren County, regarding the death of her husband, John. He also wouldn’t comment on claims about the sick workers made by American Federation of Government Employees Local 2028 President Kathi Dahl.

Legionnaire’s disease is caused when water tainted with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. The disease can lead to pneumonia.

Cowgill has confirmed that Pittsburgh VA officials now have found Legionella bacteria in the water supply at its H.J. Heinz Campus, near Aspinwall, and are restricting water use there while the filtration system is treated with chlorine.

The same thing happened last month at the University Drive campus hospital in Pittsburgh’s Oakland section, where McChes­ney, the union workers and the five patients that the VA acknowledged were treated for Legionella had been.

Water restrictions at that hospital were lifted Friday after two weeks of chlorination and other cleaning.

One of the five patients who fell ill in November died, according to the Allegheny County Health Department, though the VA is not releasing details, Cowgill said.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski to report on the outbreak at the Pittsburgh hospital.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • 4-year-old killed by van after dad’s funeral, police say

    Police in southeastern Pennsylvania say a 4-year-old boy was struck and killed by a passing van hours after returning from his father’s funeral.

    April 14, 2014

  • Woman gets 6 to 12 years in infant kidnapping

    A Pittsburgh area woman was sentenced to six to 12 years in prison after she was convicted of kidnapping an infant by luring the mother to a Fayette County motel with a phony story about a commercial photo shoot for disposable diapers.

    April 11, 2014

  • APTOPIX High School Stabbings.jpg Lawyer: Evaluate stabbing suspect’s mental health

    The attorney for a 16-year-old accused of stabbing 21 other students and a security guard at their high school said Thursday he wants to have a mental health expert evaluate the boy and hopes to have the case moved to juvenile court.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obamas send prayers to school stabbing victims

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims of a stabbing spree at a Pennsylvania high school.

    April 9, 2014

  • High School Stabbings.jpg Stabbing spree at Westmoreland County high school leaves 20 injured

    A 16-year-old armed with two knives went on a stabbing and slashing spree at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, leaving 20 people injured, including a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal, authorities said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX stabbings.jpg Student flashed 2 knives, injured 20 in Westmoreland County school, police say

    A 16-year-old boy "was flashing two knives around" when he injured 19 students and a school police officer who eventually subdued him with the help of an assistant principal at a high school near Pittsburgh on Wednesday, a police chief said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Man killed by train was texting

    Police say a man killed by a commuter train in suburban Philadelphia was texting a friend when he was struck while walking on the tracks.

    April 8, 2014

  • Daniel.jpg Investigators seek cause of fire that killed three brothers

    Authorities searched the rubble of a burned-out farm house over the weekend for the cause of a fire that took the lives of three young brothers left home alone while their widowed mother worked the overnight shift at a direct mail company.

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Wozniak, John Lawmakers want more aid for cities

    Several bills circulating at the Capitol would open improvement zones more quickly or allow smaller cities to participate.
    Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, wants to make the concept available to more cities the size of Johnstown.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • barbour021614.jpg No shows escaped death by Craigslist killer

    The young woman who says she was driven by satanic spirts to commit a cross-country murder spree over the last six years says authorities are not taking her claims seriously and that she tried to lure other central Pennslyvania men into her death snare with online companionship ads but they didn't show up.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads