NSF International, a global public health organization that develops standards and tests and certifies products for the water, food, consumer goods and health sciences industries will be hosting the first ever Legionella Conference alongside the National Science Foundation. The conference, specifically entitled the Legionella Conference 2018 – Managing Legionella and Other Pathogens in Building Water Systems, will be occurring from May 9-11, 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland and represents the first time experts with various backgrounds including from academia, medicine, industry, public health and government will come together in order to discuss Legionella along with other related pathogens which can be found in water distribution systems.
Specifically, the conference will feature over 40 speakers and will involve discussing the latest monitoring, treatment and management approaches for preventing the creation and spread of Legionella bacteria. This includes topics such as biofilms, analytical techniques for the detection and perhaps more importantly quantification of Legionella bacteria, technologies for management of water distribution systems, techniques for the prevention of Legionella, along with federal and state guidelines, guidance and requirements on the subject.
According to Dave Purkiss, Vice President of the Global Water Division at NSF International, “Prevention of Legionnaires’ disease is a complex challenge that requires a team-based approach to be successful as no single industry or profession can solve this issue on its own. The goal of the Legionella Conference is to gather together all the different stakeholders and a diverse group of experts and thought leaders to share ideas and discuss ways of detecting, mitigating and preventing Legionella outbreaks,”. This, according to Mr. Purkiss, includes, “bringing together everyone involved in building operations – from building owners and managers to members of the engineering and HVAC communities, along with regulators, specifiers and government officials.”
Overall, this kind of opportunity for all invested and involved parties to speak and share ideas with one another is truly a benefit if done correctly. Yet perhaps the most encouraging element of the conference is that subjects appear to be focused a good deal on the outright prevention of Legionella bacteria in one’s building or potable water distribution system opposed to just on how one might respond to its presence. Indeed, Chris Boyd, General Manager of Building Water Health Programs at NSF International, puts the renewed focus in context by stating that, “(A)s an industry, we need to move from a reactive approach to a proactive model focused on prevention. It should no longer be acceptable to use increases in illness and death as the sentinel data that triggers investigations and response. We must begin responding to building water system risks before an outbreak occurs. With the right approach of hazard assessment, process controls, detection and corrective action, we can stop Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks before they occur and before they take lives.”
If the conference is truly able to encourage the kind of actions and thought processes which Mr. Boyd appears to be highlighting, then it would appear as though the conference will have been a success.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.