Peer-Reviewed Research Study

Controlling Legionella pneumophila in Water Systems at Reduced Hot Water Temperatures with Copper and Silver Ionization

Elaine Cloutman-Green, Vera L Barbosa, Diego Jimenez, Daniel Wong, Helen Dunn, Brian Needham, Lena Ciric, John C Hartley
Elsevier, American Journal of Infection Control, January 2019

This study was conducted at a newly built healthcare facility in the United Kingdom. There, the Department of Health recommends maintaining hot water temperatures above 131o F (55o C) to control Legionella in water supply systems. 

The goal of this study was to determine the efficacy of copper-silver ionization to control Legionella at deliberately reduced hot water temperatures in a newly-constructed healthcare facility.

The results of routine monthly sampling (1,598 total) from 2011 to 2017 demonstrated effective (100%) Legionella control with an average hot water temperature of 107.6°F (42°C). The facility experienced a 33% reduction in energy usage and a 24% reduction in carbon emissions.

This study showed that the spread of Legionella could be controlled at reduced hot water temperatures, but interventions were required to maintain adequate levels of copper and silver.  

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Highlighted author

Dr. Elaine Cloutman-Green

Dr. Elaine Cloutman-Green is a Consultant Clinical Scientist working within Infection Prevention and Control and as Lead Healthcare Scientist for a world-renowned pediatric hospital. Her research focuses on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections and the development of rapid typing schemes to identify transmission. She is the Chair of the Environmental Network, an Executive Member of the Society for Applied Microbiology, a member of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry Microbiology Professionals Committee, and a Country Ambassador for the American Society of Microbiology. She also holds strategic positions as Diagnostic Lead for the National Institute for Health and Care Research's Clincial Research Network Infection National Specialty Group and as a board member of the National Health Service England's Antimicrobial Resistance program.

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