Legionnaires' Disease diagnosis reported at Broward school

Published On: Dec 11 2012 04:59:44 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 12 2012 12:18:36 PM EST

Broward County Public Schools and the county Health Department announced Tuesday that a male teacher at Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach had apparently contracted Legionnaire's Disease.

DANIA BEACH, Fla. -

Broward County Public Schools and the county Health Department announced Tuesday that a male teacher at Olsen Middle School in Dania Beach had apparently contracted Legionnaires' Disease.

There were no reports of any students coming down with the form of pneumonia. Still, some parents who attended the school's annual Christmas concert Tuesday night told Local 10's Baron James that the district waited too long to notify them.

"Yeah, I am concerned," said parent Mitzie Barker said. "I didn't hear about it."

The school board sent a notice to parents earlier Tuesday, saying in part, “People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person.”

A source told Local 10 the infected teacher became symptomatic on November 11th and had been in a medically induced coma over the last month. The district has not commented on whether he has or will return to the classroom.

Signs and symptoms of the disease include high fever, chills, cough, muscle aches and headaches.

Officials also sent out a prerecorded robocall to inform parents they “are working with the Health Department and the school district staff regarding this issue and taking every precaution to ensure that our school remains a safe learning environment for our students and staff."

Barker said she didn’t receive the message.

“I'm gonna ask what they're gonna do as far as making sure the kids are safe," said Barker.

A source told Local 10 the school district took safety precautions, including providing students and staff with bottled water after trace amounts of legionella bacteria were found in the school.

“They did testing without letting us know of the water and all this stuff,” said the pregnant mom. “They shut off the water today. They have the cooling air conditioning tower wrapped so the kids are not exposed. It's okay. Maybe there's nothing, but we should have known.”

The school district’s entire statement sent to parents Tuesday is as follows:

"This message is to inform you that there has been a reported case of Legionnaire's Disease at Olsen Middle School. We are working with the Health Department and the school district staff regarding this issue and are taking every precaution to ensure that our school remains a safe learning environment for our students and staff.

People get Legionnaires’ disease when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with the bacteria. The bacteria are NOT spread from one person to another person. The signs and symptoms are high fever, chills, cough, muscle aches and headaches. Should your child/children present with any of these symptoms, it is important to take your child immediately to your health care provider.

Should you have any questions about our school, please do not hesitate to contact your child's Assistant Principal or me at (754) 323-3800."