NSF Legionella 2018 Conference

Call to Action: NSF Legionella 2018 Conference


We tend to think of the developing world when addressing issues of safe water, but even in the developed world, there is significant risk posed by bacterial pathogens. Legionella bacteria and other regrowth microorganisms can be virtually eliminated at the water treatment plant, but they tend to colonize plumbing system biofilms, and people can be exposed to these pathogens by inhaling aerosols from showers and cooling towers.  At the NSF Legionella 2018 conference, experts from around the world will come together to discuss practical management and prevention of Legionella and to discuss technical solutions to mitigate future outbreaks.

Main Article

Over 23,000 cases of legionellosis were reported in the United States from 1990 to 2005 (Nell and Berkelman, 2008). Legionellosis is a blanket term for two syndromes: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Pontiac fever presents with flu-like symptoms and is treatable whereas Legionnaires’ disease presents as a serious and  potentially fatal pneumonia (CDC, 2011). Legionnaires’ is one of the causes of bacterial pneumonia, and has presented with a mortality rate between 5% and 30% (Benin et al, 2002).

Legionellosis is mostly caused by Legionella pneuomophila (Parr et al, 2015), an aerobic, Gram-negative bacterium that thrives in wet and warm conditions. It is found in bodies of water and soil, but the source of its real danger is in plumbing and cooling towers (Parr et al, 2015). Legionella are difficult to eliminate from plumbing systems after biofilms have been colonized. Exposures can occur from inhalation of aerosols from cooling towers, fountains, showers, and misters used for produce in grocery stores (CDC 2009).

“Almost all Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks are preventable with improvements in water system management.”

– Thomas Frieden, former director of CDC

According to CDC, Legionellosis accounts for 2/3 of reported US waterborne disease outbreaks in recent years (Benedict et al, 2017). The outbreaks of Legionella can be devastating, as they can have high morbidity rates, with legionellosis more predominant in males older than 50 years. At risk individuals tend to be older, smokers, and people with some immune deficiency, and health care facilities tend to be higher risk environments. However, the original Legionella outbreak occurrence in 1976 was in a hotel population. There are many technologies that have been offered to mitigate and prevent Legionella outbreaks, but each has particular characteristics that can affect their efficacy. Current water system treatments may not sufficiently eliminate all legionella microorganisms, and subsequent contamination and regrowth can occur after the water leaves the treatment plant.  Guidance and some regulations may provide greater protection.  Incorporation of heat shock treatments, chlorine, chloramines, silver/copper ionization, as well as UV or ozone in recirculating systems, are just some of the technologies that may mitigate these outbreaks (Cotruvo, 2014; Levin, 2014, Barker et al, 2015).

NSF Legionella 2018

On May 9-11, 2018, the NSF International Legionella Management conference will be held at the Baltimore Hilton. This conference brings together some of the most experienced public health thinkers and practitioners to review practical strategies that can be implemented today to identify, prevent, and mitigate risks from building water systems. The speakers and panels will discuss innovations in testing, water treatment, system modeling, plumbing design, and mitigation strategies to prevent the next illness or outbreak.

The conference will focus on practical management and prevention, and features US and international experts on all aspects of identifying risks, analytical and monitoring methodologies, and managing practical preventive and mitigation solutions. Attendees will learn the latest monitoring, mitigation, treatment technology and management approaches, and provide essential information for buildings, hospitals and other at-risk facilities, as well as mitigation providers, plumbing industry professionals, water suppliers, and public health authorities.

Call for New Innovations

Attendees are encouraged to present their new innovations, research and data at the conference in posters and floor comments to the audience of key opinion leaders. The deadline for abstract submissions is March 27 at 11:59 PM EST, 2018.

Please submit all abstracts to [email protected].

Please ensure that Poster abstracts adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Poster Abstracts must be within the realm of Legionella and drinking water safety.
  2. Abstracts should be 400 words or less, and structured to include a purpose/hypothesis, methods, results, and significance section, as a general guidance.
  3. Include a title page that indicates the abstract title, all authors, their affiliations and degrees. Please include the contact information for one corresponding author. This is not included in the word count. Please disclose all potential commercial conflicts of interest for each author.
  4. Abstracts and their content cannot be previously published.
  5. Changes to abstracts will not be accepted after March 27 at 11:59 PM EST, 2018.

More information is available at the conference website: https://www.legionella2018.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LegionellaConf/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/11404533/


Barker, K. A., Whitney, E. A., Blake, S., & Berkelman, R. L. (2015). A review of guidelines for the primary prevention of legionellosis in long-term care facilities. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association16(10), 832-836

Benedict, K. M., Reses, H., Vigar, M., Roth, D. M., Roberts, V. A., Mattioli, M., … & Yoder, J. S. (2017). Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water-United States, 2013-2014. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report66(44), 1216.

Benin, A. L., Benson, R. F., & Besser, R. E. (2002). Trends in legionnaires disease, 1980–1998: declining mortality and new patterns of diagnosis. Clinical Infectious Diseases35(9), 1039-1046.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2011). Legionellosis—United States, 2000-2009. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 60(32), 1083.

Cotruvo, J.A. (2014). Facilitating Supplemental Disinfection for Legionella Control  in Plumbing Systems.  JAWWA. 106:8, 74-83.

Levin, A. S. (2009). Nosocomial legionellosis: prevention and management. Expert review of anti-infective therapy7(1), 57-68.

Neil, K., & Berkelman, R. (2008). Increasing incidence of legionellosis in the United States, 1990–2005: changing epidemiologic trends. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 47(5), 591-599.

Parr, A., Whitney, E. A., & Berkelman, R. L. (2015). Legionellosis on the rise: a review of guidelines for prevention in the United States. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice21(5), E17.


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Andrew Duong
With over 7 years of research experience, Andrew joins InfectionControl.tips as a co-editor and contributing author. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Genetics, he earned a Master of Science in Microbiology from the Michael DeGroote Institute of Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University. As a previous Ontario Graduate Scholar, he has applied his accolades as a teaching assistant and has become a research associate in the department of surgery at Hamilton Health Sciences. Andrew has received numerous awards and scholarships including: the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the William Henry Yates Travel Scholarship and the Institute of Infectious Disease Research Undergraduate Research Award. Andrew is an avid runner, and is said to dabble in the culinary arts, when he’s not spoiling his dog.
Dave Purkiss
Dave Purkiss is General Manager of Water Systems at NSF International. Dave has worked for NSF for 30 years, including 4 years as Managing Director of WRc-NSF in the UK. Dave holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and is Chair of the AWWA Polyelectrolytes Standards Committee, as well as the AWWA Utility Quality Management Committee.
Joseph Cotruvo
Joseph A. Cotruvo PhD, BCES is Board Certified in Environmental Science, and president of Joseph Cotruvo and Associates, LLC, Water, Environment and Public Health Consultants. He was the first Director of USEPA’s Drinking Water Standards Division that produced the first regulation of TTHMs in drinking water and many existing drinking water standards, and initiated USEPA's Drinking Water Health Advisory Program. He has participated in the World Health Organization Drinking Water Guidelines development process for over 20 years. WHO work has included producing monographs on Health Aspects of Plumbing, Pathogenic Mycobacteria, Heterotrophic Plate Counts, Calcium and Magnesium in Drinking Water, Waterborne Zoonoses, Health and Environmental Aspects of Desalination Technology, and Potable Water Reuse Guidelines. His work includes drinking water quality and risk evaluations, water treatment technology, direct and indirect potable water reuse, international and national regulatory assessments. He has initiated and managed toxicological research on bromate, water system decontamination, and studies on trihalomethanes. He served for several years as chairman of the Water Quality Committee of the Board of Directors of the Washington DC Water and Sewer Authority. His Bachelor’s degree is in Chemistry from the University of Toledo, and his PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry, from The Ohio State University, and post doctoral research in heterocyclic chemistry.
Michael Diamond
Co-founder of The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS) Michael Diamond is the co-founder of The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS), a non-profit organization that recently announced $1,000,000 in Scientific Impact in its first 24 months of operation. Michael is devoted to advancing information and science to address the myriad issues relating to infection prevention and global health. Mr. Diamond is driven by the firm belief that we should not have to wait years for promising technology, ideas and processes to be implemented and accepted. Michael has created a model of information sharing that makes the process of vetting new technologies, implementing successful programs and inspiring innovation, more efficient, more accessible, more global and more collaborative. Michael’s most notable achievement to date is the TIPS online journal, www.IC.tips, a Pan-Access, worldwide collective that extends globally and touches locally. Michael leads teams around the world to develop trials and pilot studies to aid in the discovery of successful research-to-market technological advancements. His global team includes engagers and implementers. Currently represented in 38 countries, and well-established as the world’s largest engagement network, the TIPS motto is: Join. Contribute. Make A Difference.