If your potable water has ANY amount of Legionella bacteria in the supply people are at risk of exposure. For example, residents of nursing homes or patients in hospitals often have compromised immune systems. This puts them at an increased risk of contracting Legionnaire’s disease if exposed to Legionella bacteria. They could develop serious illness, or sometimes, even fatal consequences.
Test Your Facility Water Consistently to Stay in Control
Contaminated water isn’t something to which you can turn a blind eye. Just because you’re not testing for Legionella or other pathogens, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Do the right thing and establish routine water testing to ensure the safety of everyone within your organization.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are multiple ways to test water for Legionellae such as traditional culture (spread plate), PCR, and alternative novel methods. Tests for bacteria show results anywhere from two days up to two weeks depending upon the samples taken and the method used. The tests can be completed by staff or a qualified technician; sometimes, they should be performed by a commercial laboratory.
The Cost of Handling a Legionella Outbreak
It might seem like a lot of work and expense to consistently test your organization’s water and implement processes to manage bacteria. However, you can’t put a price on people’s lives and it’s extremely important to minimize preventable infections. In addition, dealing with the aftermath of a Legionella outbreak can result in very expensive financial repercussions and bad publicity.
For instance, an outbreak that happened in South East London from July to August of 2005 affected 14 men between the ages of 31 and 73 years. The situation took ample time to investigate and manage (1,608 total hours) and cost €95,844 (nearly $100,000). In addition, the total hospital cost to treat all 14 infected people totaled €584,000 ($560,239.96).
Edinburgh, Scotland suffered a large outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in 2012 that resulted in 101 infections and 3 deaths. The total cost of the epidemic was an estimated £1.8 million (nearly $ 2 million). If we look for instances within the United States, the overall economic burden of Legionnaires’ disease was over $835 million in 2014.
These are only a couple of examples of how Legionella can wreak havoc on people’s lives and finances. The takeaway? Invest in water testing and Legionella risk assessment and set up a water management plan to prevent outbreaks and ensure the safety of everyone in your building.
Aquamedix Can Help Your Organization Provide Safer Water
Fresh and safe water is critical especially for people with compromised immune systems. AquaMedix designs, manufactures, and distributes water filtration systems for the control of waterborne pathogens found in potable water. Products include shower filtration systems, inline water filters, and faucet water filter systems.
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