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SDSU confirms presence of Legionnaires' disease-causing bacteria in ENS Annex

A sign on the Exercise and Nutritional Sciences building reads "ENS is CLOSED until further notice" San Diego State University. San Diego, Calif. Feb. 13, 2023.
Ben Lacy
A sign on the Exercise and Nutritional Sciences building reads "ENS is CLOSED until further notice" at San Diego State University on Feb. 13, 2023.

San Diego State University announced on Friday that water samples collected in the Exercise and Nutritional Sciences Annex building contained a low number of Legionella pneumophila bacterial cultures. L. pneumophila causes Legionnaires' disease.

No L. pneumophila bacteria were found in the main ENS building. Both buildings have been closed since Feb. 13, when a campus community member was found to have contracted Legionnaires' disease.

On March 7, SDSU confirmed that Exercise and Nutritional Sciences professor Michael J. Buono died from the disease.


The university contracted with an independent testing company, which found that three samples along a single water line in the ENS Annex contained small amounts of the bacteria. A total of 60 locations in both the main building and annex were tested and results were confirmed using DNA sequencing, the university’s Environmental Health and Safety department said in an email.

The email also said the "detection of L. pneumophila in the ENS Annex is isolated to the Annex building alone."

Both buildings are undergoing disinfection by a specialist company. That process will take 30 days, after which the main ENS building will be available for reopening. The ENS Annex will undergo an additional 14-day waiting period to collect and test more samples. A reopening date has not been set, the university said.

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