Controlling Legionnaires’ disease will require a universal, preventive-based approach by a bevy of stakeholders ranging from building owners to hospital administrators, from public health officials to policymakers, and from scientists to water system engineers.
In other words, it’s going to take a village to get a handle on the deadliest waterborne disease in the United States, participants heard recently at Legionella Conference 2018 in Baltimore, co-sponsored by NSF International and the National Science Foundation.
Incidence of Legionnaires’ disease – a severe lung illness caused by Legionella bacteria inhaled from water distribution and premise plumbing systems – has jumped more than 300 percent since 2000. Yet preventative efforts, conference speakers said, are being hampered by a lack of awareness and inconsistent planning, testing and management of building water systems. There are more than 5 million commercial buildings in the United States.