The samples collected this week will be sent to a lab for testing.

Following an extensive cleanup in the Hannibal hotel building in which Legionella bacteria was discovered last month, the facility is being retested this week, according to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS).

“Post remediation testing samples will be collected this week,” wrote Ryan Hobart, director of communications for the DHSS, in an e-mail response to questions submitted by the Courier-Post this week.

The latest round of sample-taking at the Best Western structure located north of Hill Street followed a thorough cleaning that involved “superheating and/or hyper chlorination of the facility’s potable water system” by “specially-trained professionals with appropriate personal protective equipment that meet OSHA guidelines,” according to Hobart.

Unlike in early November when a team from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) took 40 samples from the Best Western on the River Hotel’s north structure, Hobart said previously that the post-cleanup inspection would be conducted by the DHSS.

While four rooms tested positive for Legionella bacteria, which can cause the respiratory disease, Legionellosis, Hobart indicated earlier this month that samples would be taken throughout the structure “to ensure the facility has taken acceptable measures to reduce the potential spread of the illness.”

The samples collected this week will be sent to a lab for testing.

“When the test results are negative for Legionnaire’s the facility may reopen,” said Hobart this week.

Hobart estimated it would take approximately a week before the results from the latest round of testing is known.

“It is common for any laboratory to take seven to 10 days from the time of sample collection to report the results,” he said.

The CDC was asked to take samples at the site after the DHSS learned of three cases of Legionellosis illness in people who had stayed at the hotel for at least one night over the previous eight months. One of the three individuals later died. The state health agency said earlier this month it did not yet know if that individual’s death was related to Legionellosis.

While the DHSS did not indicate this week if that person’s cause of death was linked to Legionellosis, Hobart did report that “no other illnesses have been reported related to people who have stayed at the facility.”

After the CDC took samples on Nov. 10, representatives of the DHSS and county met with hotel management on Nov. 20 to share the CDC’s findings and request the hotel close the north site immediately until remediation could occur and satisfactory results be found following additional testing.

The hotel’s south building, the construction of which concluded this year, has remained open to lodgers. When the CDC team went into the north structure on Nov. 10 no samples were taken from the south building because it was not yet in use. Earlier this month Hobart said in late November the south building had been “inspected and licensed to allow guests to stay in that facility.”

According to the CDC’s website, Legionella bacteria sometimes infects the lungs and causes pneumonia. When that happens it is called Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria can also cause a less serious infection that seems like a mild case of the flu. That form of Legionellosis is commonly called Pontiac fever.

This bacteria grows best in warm water, like the kind found in hot tubs, air-conditioning units in large buildings, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.

People get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in a mist or vapor (small droplets of water in the air) that has been contaminated with Legionella.

Legionellosis is not spread from person to person.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at