Legionella Poses Risks in Health Care Facilities

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Safe water and water management systems may not be at the forefront of every practitioner’s mind, but they should be, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Vital Signs report’s findings indicate that among the 21 U.S. jurisdictions studied, 76% reported health care-associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a lung infection (pneumonia) caused by inhaling small droplets of water containing Legionella bacteria. The analysis highlights a potentially deadly risk to patients from exposure to Legionella in health care settings.

“Controlling these bacteria in water systems can be challenging, but it is essential to protect patients,” says Anne Schuchat, MD, CDC acting director. In 2016, the CDC released a toolkit, “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings,” that includes examples relevant for health care providers. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initiated a measure last June to encourage implementation of aseptic water management programs.

From Decisions in Dentistry. August 2017;3(8):12.

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