The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Vital Signs report highlighting the risk to patients from exposure to Legionella bacteria in health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The report says one in four people who get Legionnaires’ disease from a health care facility will die. Among the Legionnaire’s disease cases definitely associated with health care facilities, 80 percent were associated with long-term care facilities, according to CDC numbers. People with increased risk include those who are 50 years of age or older, those who are current or former smokers, those who have a chronic disease, or those with a weakened immune system.
The CDC says that most problems leading to health care-associated outbreaks could be prevented with effective water management. The CDC has resources and tools available as part of the Vital Signs report. ASHE has several resources to help health care facility professionals manage water systems and reduce the threat from Legionella.