No health hazard found at Gilbert Library, Perry High School - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

No health hazard found at Gilbert Library, Perry High School

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Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:06 pm

The Gilbert Library on the campus of Perry High School will reopen 10 a.m. Friday following a closure sparked by the discovery of Legionella pneumophila at the site.

The town closed the library late Monday as a precaution after officials received confirmation that two samples taken at the library tested positive for the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, a type of pneumonia or lung disease. The tests were ordered after a Maricopa County Library District employee was suspected of having the disease, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Perry High, 1919 E. Queen Creek Road, Gilbert, was also closed Tuesday and Wednesday as a precaution, giving the 2,200 students two extra days off before Thanksgiving. Classes will resume Monday.

The individual did not, however, test positive for Legionnaires' disease. And, in fact, it's no surprise Legionella bacteria was found at the site because it's found everywhere, Maricopa County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Bob England said.

"If you go looking for it, in environmental testing, you will find it almost all the time," he said Tuesday. What keeps us all from getting sick is our immune system.

During a press conference held Tuesday at the library, England praised the town and the Chandler Unified School District for erring on the side of caution. But he confirmed the buildings are all safe.

"What was found here at the library is no different than what would probably be found in many homes. There is no risk to this building," England confirmed after reviewing the data.

Students were told Monday that classes would be cancelled for two days. Even though the "all clear" was given Tuesday, the school district determined too few students would show up to school Wednesday since classes are out Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday, spokesman Terry Locke said. And with the closure in place, it gives school officials a chance to "chlorinate" or disinfect the campus just to be safe, he added.

A planned wrestling match Saturday will take place, as will church services by a group that rents part of the campus, Locke said.

The district will have to work through the state Department of Education to determine whether or not students will need to make up those minutes of lost schooling at another time. When the district closed two campuses when students tested positive for H1N1 a few years ago, the students did not have to make up that time, Locke said.

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