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On June 7, 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a detailed report on Legionnaires’ disease and the importance of effective water management programs to help prevent outbreaks. As a Legionella program partner of the CDC, NALCO Water, an Ecolab company, supports the CDC’s report on Legionnaires’ disease and the concern surrounding the rapid rise in outbreaks in the U.S.
The report highlights the deficiencies and gaps in building water system maintenance that can lead to outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease. The CDC also released a toolkit to help increase understanding, titled ASHRAE 188 — Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, and published a four-page consumer fact sheet in the June 2016 edition of Vital Signs.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious and potentially deadly form of bacterial pneumonia with a fatality rate of about 10 percent. Infection occurs when susceptible people inhale water droplets, sprays, or mists contaminated with the bacterium Legionella pneumophila or related species.
Water from showers and faucets were a leading source of infection, followed by cooling towers, hot tubs, industrial equipment, decorative fountains, and water features.
People who are most susceptible to infection are over the age of 50 and those with risk factors related to smoking, chronic lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
According to the CDC, there are about 20 outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease and about 5,000 people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease annually in the U.S. The number of people diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease grew by nearly four times between 2000 and 2014.
The CDC highlighted that 90 percent of the outbreaks they investigated could have been prevented through improved water safety management programs.
For more than 25 years, NALCO Water has partnered with building owners, facility managers, environmental risk managers, and infection prevention specialists to develop more than 10,000 Water Safety Management Programs, each customized for their specific operations. This level of expertise helps ensure that potable and utility water systems perform to the health and performance standards necessary for the safety of employees, guests, patients, tenants, and visitors.
“NALCO Water is the only provider that uses in-house, certified professionals to deliver all of the components of a water safety program, including our CDC ELITE, ISO 9001 certified Legionella lab,” said Stephen Anderson, vice president and general manager, Institutional, NALCO Water. “Starting with a customized water safety plan, our highly trained service engineers, armed with data, personally deliver a complete regimen of solutions for our customers that are designed to reduce the public health risks associated with Legionella.”