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1 in 4 Healthcare-Associated Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Are Fatal

“Legionnaires’ disease in hospitals is widespread, deadly, and preventable. These data are especially important for health care facility leaders, doctors, and facility managers because it reminds them to think about the risks of Legionella in their facility and to take action,” said CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “Controlling these bacteria in water systems can be challenging, but it is essential to protect patients.”

As reported by the CDC, 1 in 4 people who get the infection from a health care facility will die, a higher rate than for people who get the infection elsewhere.  Among the Legionnaires’ disease cases that were associated with health care facilities:

  • 80 percent were associated with long-term care facilities, 18 percent with hospitals, and 2 percent with both
  • Cases were reported from 72 unique facilities, with the number of cases ranging from one to six per facility
  • 88 percent were in people 60 years of age or older

“Safe water at a health care facility might not be on a physician’s mind, but it’s an essential element of health care quality,” said Nancy Messonnier, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Having a water management program that focuses on keeping facility water safe can help prevent Legionnaires’ disease.”

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– Paul Stark, Regional Manager