May 12, 2015

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David Krause Co-Edits New Guidance on Legionella in Building Water Systems

J. David Krause, Ph.D., MSPH, CIH, a Geosyntec senior toxicologist and national practice leader for building health sciences based in Tallahassee, Florida, is a co-editor of the American Industrial Hygiene Association's (AIHA) publication "Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems." David is a co-editor along with fellow editors William Kerbel of Environmental Health Investigations, Inc., Brian G. Shelton of Pathogen Control Associates Inc., and John P. Spingston of TRC Environmental.

This publication addresses the need for more comprehensive guidance on routine assessments performed before any cases of Legionnaires' disease (LD) have occurred and approaches to validating the effectiveness of Legionella control measures. Building upon the 2005 AIHA "Field Guide for the Determination of Biological Contaminants in Environmental Samples" and other sources, the members of AIHA's Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Committee supported the development of this guideline for professionals and technicians to follow when assessing Legionella hazards using the fundamental principles of industrial hygiene.

Recognizing the need for clear guidance on planning and executing a proactive routine assessment, the guideline describes the components, techniques, methods, and observations that should be included. This approach differs from the current public health approach to LD, which consists of passive surveillance and evaluation of sources only after two or more cases have been confirmed. Cases of LD have steadily risen since the year 2000. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported cases in the U.S. rose from 1,110 in the year 2000 to 4,954 in 2013—a nearly 350 percent increase.

LD is the most lethal building-related illness associated with water-borne bacteria in the United States. The gram negative bacteria Legionella causes an acute infection of the lower respiratory tract. The resulting pneumonia can be fatal, with a mortality rate of 5-30 percent. Those who survive the illness often require extensive medical treatment and can experience long-lasting health effects. Outbreaks of LD often affect hospitals and nursing homes; they periodically occur in buildings that effect wider populations in the community, such as in Montreal in 2012 and more recently in Portugal sickening over 300 people in 2014.

The guideline was published in May 2015 and is available for purchase from the AIHA store at http://www.aiha.org/marketplace/

For more information on the AIHA publication or Geosyntec's Building Health Sciences practice, contact David Krause (+1-850-766-1938,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).