September 6, 2021 zacherlaw 0 Comments

As recently reported on our blog, there is an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Harlem, NY. Additionally, dozens are sick after they were exposed this month at Duke University’s fantasy basketball camp.

All over the country, cases of Legionnaires’ disease appear to be on the rise. Michigan noted an alarming statistic in July of an increase of 569% from July 2020. This is a huge spike in reported Legionnaires’ disease cases, with over 100 cases being reported in Michigan in the first half of July alone. [1]

Many individuals are returning to buildings like schools and offices that have been unused for an extended period of time due to COVID-19. With this return, concern among public health officials over Legionnaires’ disease grows. Stagnant water, like that in buildings that have been closed for extended periods, provides an ideal environment for Legionella growth.

The United States Centers for Disease Control published a list of 8 steps business and building owners should take to minimize Legionella risk before reopening. They include:

  • Develop a water management program. Specific guidance on how to do so can be found on the CDC’s website and in their “Legionella Toolkit.”
  • Properly maintain your water heater. Make sure that your water heater is set to at least 140 Degrees Fahrenheit, and determine if your manufacturer recommends draining your water heater after prolonged disuse.
  • Flush your water system before use. By turning on all faucets, hoses, steamers, ice-machines, etc. you are ensuring that any residual Legionella bacteria in and around sink/shower faucets and other water exit/entry points are flushed clean.
  • Clean all decorative water features like fountains or hanging wall displays.    
  • Clean your spas and pools. Ensure that the water has been disinfected properly or “shocked” with a disinfectant like chlorine or bromine.  
  • Clean your cooling towers. Ensure that their water basins are free of any standing water or visible bio-film or slime, and make sure to have properly shut down and restarted the machines.
  • Clean all safety equipment like fire sprinkler systems, eye wash stations, and safety showers. You should be regularly flushing these systems in accordance with manufacturer guidelines.
  • Ask questions. Consider contacting your local water utility to learn about any recent disruptions in your water supply. Regularly check your water’s temperature and pH levels.

Taking such steps helps keep the occupants of buildings safe, as well as prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease. As outbreaks continue to occur, building owners should be sure to take the steps outlined by the CDC.

Click here for a free consultation with Jules Zacher.

For more information on Legionnaires’ disease, check out the National Academies of Sciences Management of Legionella in Water Systems Report Here.

THE MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY JULES ZACHER, P.C. FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE OR A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEGAL COUNSEL.    

[1] Source.

[2] CDC Guidance on Reopening Buildings

Several Recent Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks Spark Concern Among Public Health Officials was last modified: September 8th, 2021 by zacherlaw

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