Vol. 66, No. 22
June 09, 2017
Vital Signs: Health Care–Associated Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Data from 20 States and a Large Metropolitan Area — United States, 2015
Weekly / June 9, 2017 / 66(22);584–589
On June 6, 2017, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release.
Elizabeth A. Soda, MD1,2; Albert E. Barskey, MPH2; Priti P. Shah, MPH2; Stephanie Schrag, DPhil2; Cynthia G. Whitney, MD2; Matthew J. Arduino, DrPH3; Sujan C. Reddy, MD3; Jasen M. Kunz, MPH4; Candis M. Hunter, MSPH4; Brian H. Raphael, PhD2; Laura A. Cooley, MD2 (View author affiliations)View suggested citation
• Legionnaires’ disease is a severe lung infection caused by breathing in small droplets of water that contain Legionella bacteria. Persons aged ≥50 years, current or former smokers, and those with chronic diseases or a weakened immune system are at higher risk for Legionnaires’ disease.
• Legionella grows well in building water systems that are not adequately managed such as those in which disinfectant levels are low or water temperatures are warm. Effective water management programs are recommended to prevent Legionella growth in buildings with large or complex water systems, including health care facilities.
• The size and complexity of health care facility water systems might increase the risk for Legionella growth. Such health care facilities also provide care to persons who might be more susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease because of their underlying risk factors.
• Legionnaires’ disease continues to occur in U.S. health care facilities. Sixteen of the 21 U.S. jurisdictions, including 72 health care facilities in this analysis, reported definite health care–associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
• One fourth of persons with definite health care–associated Legionnaires’ disease die.
• Prevention and response requires coordination among health care facility leaders, health care providers, and public health professionals. Instituting and maintaining effective water management programs are the principal prevention measures. Rapid patient identification with appropriate laboratory testing and prompt intervention might prevent additional cases from occurring.
• Additional information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns.
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