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Legionnaires’ Threat Leads to ‘Extreme’ Measures


By Cathryn Jakicic Emergency Preparedness
legionella bacteria

As reported cases of Legionnaires’ disease continue to rise across the country, a growing number of institutional and commercial facilities are revisiting their emergency preparedness plans in order to prevent outbreaks of the illness.

Healthcare facilities are taking special notice of the situation, given the compromised health of many of their patients. In response to the growing concerns, the Salisbury (N.C.) VA Medical Center is taking extreme measures to keep veterans safe, according to WCNC.

For example, the hospital’s patient room faucets now turn on automatically every hour and run for three minutes at a time. The change in procedures follows a directive from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that tries to make sure water circulates, maintaining chlorine levels to keep away the bacteria that causes the infection.

The facility's prevention efforts aren't just focused on auto-run faucets. The facility also uses temperature controls, and its scenic indoor pond, once home to stagnant water has now drained, replaced by televisions with a loop of water video and sound.

While, the Salisbury VA reports no recent Legionnaires' disease cases, the Pittsburgh VA previously experienced an outbreak that killed six people several years ago. In Illinois, 13 others died at a VA facility.

This Quick Read was submitted by Cathryn Jakicic, Healthcare Industries Editor, FacilitiesNet. For more about hospital campuses and other medical facilities, visit https://www.facilitiesnet.com/healthcarefacilities.

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