New Legionellosis Standard Coming: Hospitals Should Prepare for Compliance

February 29, 2012 | Risk Management News

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A new standard, “Prevention of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems” (standard 188) from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will be enacted later this year, according to an article in the February 2012 issue of Health Facilities Management, and healthcare facilities should start preparing now to be in compliance. The standard will change the actions used to prevent legionellosis (which includes legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever) from voluntary measures to proactive requirements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized due to legionnaires’ disease each year, and while most recover with the use of antibiotics, some people, including smokers, those with chronic lung disease, and those with weakened immune systems, are more susceptible to this disease and can become seriously ill. These vulnerable populations are likely to be in hospitals, which also have complex water systems and medical devices, such as humidifiers, that can spread Legionella pneumophila.

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