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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 34

of 'Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Legionella infection'

Plan for the control of Legionella infections in long-term care facilities: role of environmental monitoring.
Cristino S, Legnani PP, Leoni E
Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2012;215(3):279.
In accordance with the international and national guidelines, the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy) has established regional guidelines for the surveillance and prevention of legionellosis based on the concept of risk assessment, with particular attention to environmental monitoring. The aim of this study was to verify how environmental surveillance in the context of risk assessment plans could help to guide decisions about preventive strategies against Legionella infections in Long Term Care Facilities (LTCF). In six LTCFs in the city of Bologna (Emilia-Romagna Region) a self-control plan was implemented that included the environmental monitoring of Legionella spp. and the surveillance of hospital-acquired Legionnaires' Disease. At baseline, four hot water systems were colonized by Legionella pneumophila (3 LCTFs) and Legionella londiniensis (1 LCTF). In each establishment specific control measures were adopted based on the characteristics of the system, the virulence of the strain and the level of the contamination. The monitoring, carried out for around two years, was also extended to the ways in which the system and the distal water distribution points were used and maintained with respect to the good practices in operation and management. The adopted actions (shock and/or continuous disinfection treatments) and the implementation of the good practice measures reduced the contamination to acceptable andstable levels. No cases of hospital-acquired legionellosis occurred during the period of study. The environmental surveillance was successful in evaluating the risk and identifying the most suitable preventive strategies.
Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.