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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 27

of 'Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Legionella infection'

Disinfection of water distribution systems for Legionella.
Lin YS, Stout JE, Yu VL, Vidic RD
Semin Respir Infect. 1998;13(2):147.
Hospital-acquired legionnaires' disease arises from the presence of Legionella in hospital water systems. Legionella not only persists in hot water tanks but is also found in the biofilm throughout the entire water distribution system. Conditions within water systems that promote Legionella colonization include water temperature, configuration and age of the hot water tank, physicochemical constituents of the water, plumbing materials, and commensal microflora. Hospital-acquired legionnaires' disease has been prevented by instituting control measures directed at the water distribution system. These include superheat-and-flush, copper/silver ionization, ultraviolet light, instantaneous heating systems, and hyperchlorination. Each of the above disinfection methods has been proven to be effective in the short-term, but long-term efficacy has been difficult due to limitations associated with each method. The complexities of Legionella disinfection, including advantages and disadvantages of each method, are reviewed. A successful Legionella prevention program requires cooperation and communication among hospital administrative personnel, engineers, and infection control staff. Routine environmental surveillance cultures for Legionella are the critical component for successful long-term disinfection. Culture results document the efficacy of the disinfection method and alert the hospital staff to consider Legionella in hospitalized patients with pneumonia.
Department of Civil&Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA.