Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals
The US Center for Disease Control has published a report on cases of Legionnaires disease reported in 2015. Their major finding which is causing some concern is that health care facilities are a major source of the illness. The causative bacterium, Legionella, has been found in a large number of the water systems of hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Putting the most vulnerable patients at risk. CDC researchers analyzed 2015 data from 21 areas around the country. They found that 76 percent of reported cases of Legionnaires' disease were linked to health care facilities.
Approximately 6,000 cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported to CDC in 2015. However, only about half included where the infection was acquired. The findings in this new report are based on data from 20 states and New York City, where the data how the infection was acquired was recorded.
Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals is deadly and preventable
“Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals is widespread, deadly, and preventable. These data are especially important for health care facility leaders, doctors, and facility managers. It reminds them to think about the risks of Legionella in their facility and to take action,” said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat. “Controlling these bacteria in water systems can be challenging, but it is essential to protect patients.”
According to the report, among cases definitely associated with health care facilities, 80 percent were tied to long-term care facilities, 18 percent to hospitals, and 2 percent to both. In addition, 72 unique facilities reported cases, with the number of cases ranging from one to six in each facility. 88% of the cases were in people aged 60 or older.
The role of continuous monitoring
"Safe water at a health care facility might not be on a physician's mind, but it's an essential element of health care quality," Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in an agency.news release. "Having a water management program that focuses on keeping facility water safe can help prevent Legionnaires' disease."
Regular inspection and frequent on-site testing providing immediate results could support improvements in.maintaining.control of the Legionella risk, with.better health outcomes for all.