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September 3rd, 1978: The Sunday-Star News

 

Per a study by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), people contracted Legionnaires’ disease (LD) from a health care facility in 76% of locations reporting exposures.

Legionnaires’ disease kills 25% of those who contract it from a health care facility. Those with an increased risk for LD are adults 50 years or older, current and former smokers, and people with a weakened immune system or chronic disease.

Most problems in the US are linked to health care-associated outbreaks, however, Legionella bacteria can grow in water systems in office buildings, cruise ships, hotels, and residential homes.

These contaminated water droplets can be spread by:

  • Showerheads and sink faucets.
  • Water heaters
  • Drinking fountains
  • Hot tubs/spas
  • Pools
  • Hydrotherapy equipment, such as jetted therapy baths.
  • Medical equipment, such as respiratory machines, bronchoscopes, and heater-cooler units.
  • Ice machines.
  • Decorative fountains and water features.
  • Cooling towers
  • Municipal water systems

 

Outbreaks can be prevented with effective water management:

  • Keep hot water temperatures high.
  • Make sure disinfectant amounts are correct.
  • Prevent stagnation of water.
  • Maintain equipment to prevent biofilm, organic debris, and corrosion.
  • Monitor changes in water quality.

Health care facility managers can:

  • Work with healthcare providers to identify LD cases early and determine if the cases may be associated with the facility.
  • Implement a Legionella-specific water management program.
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