Safety

Tip of the week: Consider these steps to control Legionella

Hospital Safety Insider, October 8, 2008

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Legionella continues to be a persistent adversary for hospitals, as one facility in New Jersey has found out.
 
St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ, has identified eight patients who contracted Legionella through the facility’s water supply, according to the hospital.
 
Two of those patients have died, though it is not clear whether Legionella was the direct cause of death or a contributing factor, as all the affected patients received treatment in the oncology unit, reported the Home News Tribune of New Brunswick.
 
St. Peter’s has taken the following steps, which are good tactics for any medical center to consider:
  • Flushed and chlorinated the water systems to kill the Legionella bacteria
  • Installed new filters in showerheads on the oncology unit, where Legionella had been detected
  • Provided bottled water to patients, visitors, and employees
  • Monitored patients who had been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia or those readmitted with respiratory illness symptoms if they had previously been discharged after August 20, which the facility pinpointed as the start of the outbreak



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