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Three northwest suburban schools evacuated due to Legionella bacteria

Three schools in the northwest suburbs were evacuated Wednesday after Legionella bacteria was discovered.

The bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease, was found in the water cooling towers for three School District U-46 buildings, according to a statement posted on the district’s website.

The Educational Service Center, which hosts Gifford Street High School, at 46 S. Gifford St. in Elgin; Larkin High School at 1475 Larkin Ave. in Elgin; and Eastview Middle School at 321 N. Oak Ave. in Bartlett were all evacuated, according to the statement.

“While risk of exposure to the bacteria was low, we decided, in consultation with the Kane County Health Department, to evacuate staff and students to safe locations as a precaution,” the school district said.

All 19 towers in the area are being properly cleaned and sanitized to remove bacteria.

Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a severe, sometimes lethal form of pneumonia.