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CDC Releases Report on Legionnaires’ Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the June 2017 Vital Signs report, including the latest findings on health care–associated Legionnaires’ disease.

The bacterial lung infection is caused by Legionella, a bacterium that grows in standing water. The 2015 Vital Signs report confirmed that people contracted Legionnaires’ disease from a health care facility in 76 percent of reporting jurisdictions in the United States. Legionnaires’ disease often is deadly; it is fatal in 25 percent of people who contract it at a health care facility.

Legionella grows best in buildings with large water systems that are not managed properly, according to CDC. Effective water management can help prevent health care–associated Legionnaires’ disease. CDC has released an updated water management program toolkit to help health care facilities implement an effective water management program and reduce the risk of contamination.

In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently issued a survey and certification memorandum requiring health care facilities to develop and follow practices to reduce the risk of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.

CDC will hold a teleconference for health care leaders on health care–associated Legionnaires’ disease on Tuesday, June 13, at 2 pm ET.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.