Research – Legionella and Biofilms—Integrated Surveillance to Bridge Science and Real-Field Demands



Legionella is responsible for the life-threatening pneumonia commonly known as Legionnaires’ disease or legionellosis. Legionellosis is known to be preventable if proper measures are put into practice. Despite the efforts to improve preventive approaches, Legionella control remains one of the most challenging issues in the water treatment industry. Legionellosis incidence is on the rise and is expected to keep increasing as global challenges become a reality. This puts great emphasis on prevention, which must be grounded in strengthened Legionella management practices. Herein, an overview of field-based studies (the system as a test rig) is provided to unravel the common roots of research and the main contributions to Legionella’s understanding. The perpetuation of a water-focused monitoring approach and the importance of protozoa and biofilms will then be discussed as bottom-line questions for reliable Legionella real-field surveillance. Finally, an integrated monitoring model is proposed to study and control Legionella in water systems by combining discrete and continuous information about water and biofilm. Although the successful implementation of such a model requires a broader discussion across the scientific community and practitioners, this might be a starting point to build more consistent Legionella management strategies that can effectively mitigate legionellosis risks by reinforcing a pro-active Legionella prevention philosophy. View Full-Text

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