The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new Vital Signs report today on Legionnaires’ disease (LD), a serious and often deadly lung infection (pneumonia) that people can get by breathing in small droplets of water containing Legionella germs. The report found that among the 21 U.S. jurisdictions studied, 76 percent reported health care-associated cases of Legionnaires’ disease – a concerning finding since LD acquired from health care facilities can be particularly severe.
In fact, Legionnaires’ disease kills 25% of those who get it from a health care facility. Many people being treated at healthcare facilities, including long-term care facilities and hospitals, have conditions that put them at greater risk of getting sick and dying from LD.
The study showed that most problems leading to U.S. healthcare-associated outbreaks could be prevented with effective water management. Health care facilities should be aware that LD is a risk in their facility and should know that they can take action to prevent infections.