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Hospital-related Legionella outbreaks may be prevented with currently available non-chemical technology
In light of the recent death of an elderly woman from Legionnaires' disease in a Calgary hospital, Mr. Chris Gauthier, chief microbiology technologist for ProCare Water Treatment Inc., emphasises that "hospital-related Legionella outbreaks can easily be prevented with currently available non-chemical technology."
"The key is simply to make our Canadian hospital administrators and provincial governments aware of this technology in order to make our hospitals as safe as possible when dealing with water issues," he said. According to Gauthier, the average Canadian hospital could be equipped in weeks to prevent waterborne outbreaks of this nature.
"With the SARS outbreaks at the beginning of 2003, infectious control in hospital settings is definitely not the same as we saw it just one year ago." stated Gauthier. "As a result, some institutions have adopted more rigorous infectious control protocols that also include Legionnaires' disease prevention. What is mostly unknown is that these waterborne pathogens can be managed without the use of chemicals or thermal control and thus be much safer and more affordable. This means that we can now eliminate the risks of microbiological dangers associated to domestic hot water systems and cooling towers without using any chemicals."
The innovative technology process to which Gauthier is referring is called water ionisation. The scientifically proven process involves water flowing between electrically charged electrodes that dissipate very low concentrations of copper and silver into a non-potable water system and is used in domestic hot water systems and cooling towers. The ions cause microorganisms to die and safely disinfect all of the water system without any corrosion to the pipes. ProCare-LP(R) Ion Generators have been used around the world for more than 18 years as a proven and safe way to control and kill Legionella and other waterborne microorganisms in these types of water systems. Additional applications include public pools, spas and agricultural environments.
According to a recent scientific study, (Infection Control Hospital Epidemiology, Aug. 2003), copper-silver ionisation is the only disinfection method to have fulfilled all four of the following evaluation criteria: (1) demonstrated efficacy of Legionella eradication in vitro using laboratory assays, (2) anecdotal experiences in preventing Legionnaires' disease in individual hospitals, (3) controlled studies in individual hospitals, and (4) validation in confirmatory reports from multiple hospitals during a prolonged time (5 to 11 years in this study).