Legionella Conference 2019 brought together public health and water professionals to discuss water system management concerns
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NSF Intl. and the National Environmental Health Assn. co-hosted Legionella Conference 2019, Building Water Systems: The Sustainability and Public Health Nexus, Sept. 11 to 13 in Los Angeles. The event brought together more than 360 international attendees from across public health, water utilities, water industry organizations, regulatory bodies and academia. The event stressed the importance of building water management plans and served as a driver in thought leadership about surveillance and response to outbreaks, according to a press release by NSF following the event.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Patrick Breysse of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who covered the need for updated policies. Other deterrents to widespread use of water management programs are cost and a lack of resources and expertise, Breysse said, according to the press release.
“We are humbled by the enormity of the public health issue before us. Together, we can rise to the challenges and shape the approach to protect human health for decades to come,” said Chris Boyd, general manager of Building Water Health at NSF Health Sciences LLC.
Additionally, a CDC co-sponsored study, published Aug. 14, 2019, conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) investigated evidence and best practices to control Legionella in water systems. The study was presented by Dr. Michele Prevost, a NASEM Management of Legionella in Water Systems study committee member.
According to the NSF press release, 52,000 to 70,000 people contract Legionnaires’ disease annually in the U.S. The study also included recommendations for improving this statistic and limiting Legionnaires’ outbreaks. Some of these recommendations include establishing cooling tower registration systems and monitoring cooling towers; expanding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memo to require monitoring for Legionella in environmental water samples for all hospitals; requiring water management plans in public and commercial buildings; and more.
“This is a significant report,” Dr. Prévost said. “Where are we 40 years after Philadelphia? Much has been learned, but much less progress has been made in preventing Legionnaires’ disease.”
Read the full press release and learn more about the NASEM report here.