Despite the growing public awareness of Legionella in healthcare facilities, long-term care homes, hotels, and commercial buildings, facility-related outbreaks continue to occur regularly, and their fatal outcomes are reported in local or national news.
Facility management experts and consultant engineers install copper silver ionization water treatment to lower Legionella related exposure risks, and become Legionella compliant in their existing facilities or new construction projects.
The number of Legionnaires’ disease cases reported to CDC has risen since 2000. In 2018, in American alone, health departments reported to the CDC nearly 10,000 occurrences of Legionnaires’ disease. Additionally, the CDC believes that these reported numbers are underestimated because Legionnaires’ disease is likely to be underdiagnosed and under-reported to the health authorities. A recent 2021 study estimated that the actual number of Legionnaires’ disease cases might be as high as 1.8–2.7 times higher than what was reported.|CDC|
The World Health Organization also acknowledges a lack of appropriate methods to diagnose the infection or sufficient surveillance systems to determine the exact rate of Legionella-related occurrence is unknown.|WHO|
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What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of preventable pneumonia caused when Legionella contaminated water is aerosolized (via showers or other water misting) and then inhaled by an unsuspecting person exposed to the contaminated water. People exposed to Legionella bacteria will not all develop Legionnaires’ disease. Some might develop the milder version of the infection called Pontiac fever. In all cases, Legionella contaminated water can be prevented and exposure risks dramatically lowered with the use of secondary water treatment such as commercial or medical grade copper silver ionization.
Legionella is an omnipresent waterborne bacteria that can be found globally and becomes problematic when ideal environmental water conditions promote growth and proliferation. In addition to untreated evaporative cooling towers, both hot and cold facility potable water distribution networks are commonly identified to be the source of Legionella related Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks. In fact, it is estimated that larger facility potable water networks with no secondary water treatment, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, hotels, and commercial buildings, account for over 80% of Legionnaires’ disease cases compared to less than 20% for cooling towers.