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Cooling tower at Connetquot schools office tests positive for Legionella bacteria

A cooling tower at the central office of the Connetquot school district in Bohemia has traces of Legionella bacteria, school officials said Thursday.

The bacteria was discovered after officials tested the tower as part of a state-ordered initiative, Superintendent Lynda G. Adams said in a letter posted on the district's website Thursday night. Schools are conducting tests in the wake of the deaths of 13 people since it was detected in the Bronx in July. Some 120 other people have become sick from it.

No one has exhibited symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, Adams said, and the district said it took action right away.

"Upon receiving notification of these results, the cooling towers were immediately taken offline," she wrote. "Tomorrow [Friday] morning, the towers will be disinfected and decontaminated by a professional organization prior to being put back into service."

She added: "The cooling towers are a 'closed-loop' system, and the water inside the system does not interact with the external environment in any way."

There have been no reports of Legionnaires' disease in any of the faculty, staff or visitors to the central office, she said.

The discovery and notification come a day after Legionella bacteria was found in cooling towers at Smithtown East and Smithtown West high schools, according to district statements posted on its website.

There were no reports of illness at the Smithtown schools either.

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