The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends routine monitoring of for Legionella in all bone marrow and organ transplant hospitals nationwide. Routine monitoring in healthcare facilities is recommended or required in several states such as NY, TX, MD, Los Angeles County and Allegheny County PA. Canada has guidelines for monitoring healthcare facilities. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends routine monitoring of building water supply systems.
The Legionella bacterium is a gram negative, rod shaped bacterium that can cause pneumonia (Legionnaires' Disease) or a flu like illness (Pontiac fever). It is ubitquitous in surface and groundwater. It was first identified and recognized as causing disease during the outbreak that occurred in conjunction with the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia in 1976. There are 50 species of Legionella and many of those can cause disease. It is reported that the species Legionella pneumophila causes most of the infections.
The bacterium is transmitted by contaminated, aerosolized water from potable water systems, cooling towers, ornamental fountains, hot tubs and whirlpool spas. Outbreaks have been also been documented from such sources as car washes using recycled water, supermarket vegetable misters, and potting soil. It is reported that most cases of disease are associated with building potable water systems, followed by cooling towers and then hot tubs.
For further information, please contact Diane Miskowski, MPH at 1-800-220-3675 (East Coast) or Sylvia Noack at 1-888-455-3675 (West Coast) or visit www.LegionellaTesting.com.