Better Water System Maintenance Needed to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks

By June 27, 2016 No Comments

CDC, 7 June 2016

More effective water management might have prevented most of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks CDC investigated from 2000 through 2014, according to today’s CDC Vital Signs report.  Problems identified in these building-associated outbreaks included inadequate disinfectant levels, human error, and equipment breakdowns that led to growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems.

CDC is releasing a new toolkit today to help building owner and managers prevent these problems.  Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise.  In the last year, about 5,000 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and more than 20 outbreaks were reported to CDC.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with Legionella.  Most people who get sick need hospital care and make a full recovery—but about 1 in 10 people will die from the infection.

‘Many of the Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented,’ said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H.  ‘Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives, and today’s report promotes tools to make that happen.’”

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