An infectious disease microbiologist discusses how facility managers can identify, address, and prevent Legionella bacteria.
By Dr. Janet E. Stout

Facility managers have a plan for almost everything. You plan for fires, power outages and hurricanes, because when emergency strikes you know it’s better to be prepared. But there’s one crisis you probably haven’t planned for that’s more common than you think: Legionnaires’ disease.

When a single case of Legionnaires’ disease pneumonia is thought to have come from your building, all hell breaks loose. The health department is at your door along with the news media. All use of your water system halts—no drinking, no showering, or bathing. Extensive testing of your water for Legionella bacteria is required by the health department and emergency disinfection will have to happen in the next 48 hours. The health department will also recommend that you hire a consultant with Legionella expertise.

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