EP9: The L Word

Today’s show is something that most of us misunderstand, we don’t know how to talk to our customers about it, and we simply do not know what the right information is and where to go find it. We are talking about the L word today; Legionella. We are going to get to the bottom of what Legionella is, what we need to know about it, how we explain it to our customers, and how we get everybody working together towards a common goal.

Episode 9: Show Notes

We welcome Dr. Janet E. Stout, she is the president and director of Special Pathogens Laboratory, and research associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

A clinical and environmental microbiologist, Dr. Stout is recognized worldwide for more than 30 years of pioneering research in Legionella. Her expertise includes disinfection and control strategies for the prevention of Legionnaires’ disease and other waterborne pathogens. She is credited as the first to demonstrate the link between Legionnaires’ disease and the presence of Legionella in hospital water systems.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Janet shares with us about who she is and what she does.
  • Learn how Legionella cannot be treated by all kinds of antibiotics, only certain selected ones.
  • Find out what the signs and symptoms are of Legionnaires disease.
  • Understand what a water treater can do to prevent Legionella.
  • Learn what building owners need to understand about cooling towers and utility water systems and the questions we need to be asking these owners.
  • Hear how New York is the first to have a law that requires building owners to adhere to specific requirements.
  • Janet tells us where to get information on the guidelines and standards for Legionella.
  • Find out what the Ashrae 188 document is all about, and how it is used.
  • Understand what the different serogroups for Legionella are.
  • Hear how there is a lot of freedom in the standard 188 for you to make decisions.
  • Understand why Ashrae 188 in New York only deals with the water in cooling towers.
  • Learn more about the Centre for Medical and Medicaid Services Document on Ashrae 188.
  • Find out why you need to test for Legionella and what systems you should be testing.
  • Understand how to test for Legionella in the facility and how it benefits.
  • Hear how only about 30-50% of cooling towers are positive for Legionella.
  • Janet tells us what to do if your test for Legionella in the water comes back positive.
  • Learn how decisions made need to be evidence-based.
  • Understand the procedure on the collection part of the Legionella test.
  • Learn about the ELITE program developed by the CDC.
  • Find out what to look for in the laboratory you choose to do your testing.
  • Learn more about what dual biocides are and how they should be used.
  • Understand why it’s important to have a water management program.
  • Hear what’s an acceptable free chlorine and what to test for when you’re testing chlorine.
  • Find out why you need to take negligence off the table.
  • Janet tells us what she sees around the topic of Legionella that needs to stop.
  • And much more!


“The symptoms of legionnaires disease is no different than the symptoms of other forms of pneumonia.” — @specialpathogen [0:08:00.0]

“I always try to have a little lawyer on my shoulder when I am advising our clients on Legionella management.” — @specialpathogen [0:32:07.0]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Dr. Janet E Stout — http://www.specialpathogenslab.com/

Email Janet — jstout@pathogenslab.coom

Janet on Twitter — https://twitter.com/specialpathogen

Ashrae Website — https://www.ashrae.org/

CDC Website — https://www.cdc.gov/

US Environmental Protection Agency — https://www.epa.gov/

Legionella — http://legionella.org/

The treasure trove of resources she mentioned — http://www.specialpathogenslab.com/resources-1.php

CDC Legionella Toolkit — https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/maintenance/wmp-toolkit.html

Here is some more information on  CDC, AWT, ASHE and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) concerning Legionella, ASHRAE 188 and water management plans.

The CDC just released “version 2” of their Toolkit & VitalSigns publications that were first released in June of 2016 – the message and advocacy is still very strong and clear that building owners have an ASHRAE 188 compliant “Water Management Plan” (or better) – w/this year’s focus and data particularly on Healthcare Facilities! The VitalSigns document title is: Legionnaires Disease – A Problem for Health Care Facilities!  Here is a copy of CDC’s VitalSigns, MMWR and a Link to the CDC Toolkit.

AWT quickly responded to the CDC releases w/their own press release of the CDC – note that the CDC (now) specifically recommends contacting a “water treatment professional” for water management plan development – and not a “plumber”.   ASHE also responded w/acknowledgement of the CDC focus on Legionella management in healthcare facilities – see ASHE News.

Maybe the most significant event is the CMS update memorandum (effective immediately 6/2/17) that has very specific expectations/requirements for health care facilities receiving CMS funds to have an 188 equivalent water management plan AND “environmental testing for pathogens” (Legionella).

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