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Water Systems during COVID and Legionella & Legionaires' Diseases

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Water Systems during COVID and Legionella & Legionaires' Diseases


Guidance for reopening buildings after prolonged shutdown or reduced operation
Harry M. Neill

Today I would like to share some information on Legionella and Legionnaires’ Disease in the workplace. From shutting off drinking water supplies to conducting follow-up sampling, there are numerous immediate and long-term preventive best practices to consider especially during COVID-19. In addition, in order to reduce the potential for additional cases and to respond to the immediate issues, it is critical to have a written, well-thought-out control plan

Please feel free to e-mail me and we can set aside some time to discuss how 1Source Safety and Health can assist you.

Harry M. Neill, CIH Vice President,
Mold and Indoor Air Quality Services

Legionellosis (Legionnaires' Disease)

How to Prevent Infectious Diseases in the Workplace

Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac Fever are collectively known as Legionellosis, a disease caused by Legionellabacteria. Legionnaires' disease is a serious, potentially deadly, lung infection (i.e., pneumonia); Legionella ... becomes a potentially deadly human health hazard when it grows in places such as poorly maintained domestic and industrial water systems; cooling towers; or heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) systems.

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Hazard Recognition

Environmental-Related Disease Investigation

Low and even non-detectable Legionella levels can exist in a water source without resulting in Legionellosis cases. However, under specific, preventable conditions, Legionella bacteria can grow rapidly and reach high concentrations in water. Legionella bacteria are more likely to become suspended in the air (i.e., aerosolized) when the water is part of a system that includes the water's passing through components such as cooling towers, shower heads, and faucets.

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Legionella Testing and Legionnaires Disease Prevention

Airborne and Direct Contact Diseases

What should you do if an employee or occupant at your facility is diagnosed with Legionnaires disease or Pontiac Fever? How would you respond? Who should be involved? Remember, a methodical approach is crucial. If there is a confirmed case of Legionnaires disease or worse, a death, it is critical to have a plan that addresses all the issues.

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