CDC: Better Water System Maintenance Needed to Prevent Legionnaires'

Prevalence of the disease is rising. In the past year, about 5,000 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease and more than 20 outbreaks were reported to CDC.

An analysis by CDC indicates more effective water management might have prevented most of the rising number of Legionnaires' disease outbreaks its personnel investigated from 2000 through 2014. The Vital Signs report shows that the building-associated outbreaks had problems such as inadequate disinfectant levels, human error, and equipment breakdowns that led to growth of Legionella bacteria in the water systems. CDC released a new toolkit to help building owners and managers prevent such problems.

The number of people with Legionnaires' disease rose nearly fourfold times from 2000–2014, with about 5,000 people diagnosed with it during that period; the disease kills about 10 percent of people who get it, and 90 percent of all outbreaks are caused by problems that are preventable with more effective water management, according to CDC.

Legionnaires' is a lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated with Legionella. Most people who get sick need hospital care and make a full recovery.

"Many of the Legionnaires' disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH. "Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives, and today's report promotes tools to make that happen."

The report examined 27 building-associated Legionnaires' outbreaks investigated by CDC across 24 states and territories, Mexico, and Canada. The most common source of those outbreaks was potable water (56 percent), followed by cooling towers (22 percent) and hot tubs (7 percent). Other sources included industrial equipment (4 percent) and a decorative fountain/water feature (4 percent). In two outbreaks, the source was never identified.

CDC investigated the first outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in 1976 among people who attended an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Comply with OSHA’s Electronic Recordkeeping Requirements

    Collect relevant incident data and generate accurate OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 regulatory reports, including 300A CSV files for easy electronic submission to OSHA.

  • Complete Online Safety Training Courses

    Deliver state-of-the art, online safety training courses to your organization with IndustrySafe Training Management Software. Generate reports to track training compliance and automatically notify learners of upcoming or overdue classes.

  • Easy to Use Safety Inspection App

    Conduct inspections on the go with IndustrySafe’s mobile app. Complete safety audits at job sites and remote locations—with or without web access.

  • Track Key Safety Performance Indicators

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations to easily track safety KPIs and metrics. Gain increased visibility into your business’ operations and safety data.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus