OSHA Updates Online Resource on Legionellosis
OSHA has revised its safety and health topic page on legionellosis to include the latest information on preventing, identifying, and controlling Legionella bacteria hazards in workplaces. The page includes updated information from the OSHA Technical Manual chapter on Legionnaires’ disease and the agency’s Legionella eTool. OSHA’s revised page is intended as a resource for employers, healthcare providers, and health and safety professionals who collaborate during work site investigations of legionellosis. Users can find information related to hazard recognition, standards, control and prevention, and outbreak response. Medical information on the signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and medical management of legionellosis is also available. Legionellosis comprises two distinct diseases: Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever. Individuals are typically infected by breathing in droplets of water that originate in building water systems contaminated with Legionella pneumophila. According to OSHA, approximately 6,000 cases of legionellosis are reported in the U.S. each year. See OSHA’s revised legionellosis page for more information. More than 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported in the United States in 2016, according to CDC data. CDC cautions that Legionnaires’ is likely under-diagnosed and that the true incidence is probably greater than official statistics suggest. Legionnaires’ is fatal in about ten percent of cases. A related resource available for purchase from AIHA is the guideline Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems. The editors of the guideline discussed its role and intent in the article “The New Age of Legionella” in the June/July 2015 issue of The Synergist. According to the authors, “The AIHA guideline provides extensive guidance for the competent professional to design and execute a successful assessment of building water systems before disease occurs.” Read their article and purchase the guidance in the AIHA Store.