Safety

Tip of the week: Put water fountains on your Legionella radar and use our free checklist

Hospital Safety Insider, April 28, 2010

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Even decorative water fountains can be a risk with Legionella, as Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore Hospital in Cudahy, WI, found out recently.

The hospital had ties to at least six cases of Legionella in March that state and hospital investigators traced to a fountain near the main entrance. Aerosolizing water, such as mist from a fountain, can carry Legionella organisms to people.
 
The Hospital Safety Center has posted a free Legionella and waterborne pathogens prevention checklist for you to use.
 
Aurora notified more than the more than 1,000 patients who were at St. Luke’s South Shore from February 24 through March 10, warning them that they might have been exposed to the illness and to be wary of symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, and shortness of breath.
 
Meanwhile, the hospital sanitized and then shut down the main entrance fountain.
“As a precaution, all water features throughout Aurora have been turned off,” the facility said in a statement.
 
Under environment of care standard EC.02.05.01, The Joint Commission requires hospitals to have a process for managing pathogenic biological agents in cooling towers, domestic hot water, and other water systems that have the potential of being aerosolized.



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