Becker’s Healthcare – I spent years as the CEO of a company that provided infection surveillance software to hospitals – a sort of early warning system for outbreaks. In that field, you see the impact of almost every hospital-acquired infection imaginable. I thought I had seen everything – until recently, when I ventured into the upside down world of Legionnaires’ disease.
With outbreaks on the rise, including one across New York City that has killed 12 people and sickened more than 120, along with recent reports of Legionnaires’ deaths in Cleveland, Denver and Detroit, and just last week in Illinois, and California, you would think national and state authorities would be springing into action, as they did when reports surfaced of deadly new superbugs such as MRSA or the Ebola scare. You’d be wrong.
While healthcare regulations now demand testing and the public reporting of data on MRSA, et al, there are no such regulations for Legionella, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’. This despite the fact that most cases can be prevented by routinely testing plumbing in buildings, along with fountains, hot tubs and cooling towers.