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Open AccessCommentary
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 12; doi:10.3390/ijerph14010012

Legionella Risk Management and Control in Potable Water Systems: Argument for the Abolishment of Routine Testing

Health and the Environment, School of the Environment, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, Australia
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [282 KB, uploaded 24 December 2016]

Abstract

Legionella is an opportunistic pathogen of public health significance. One of the main sources of Legionella is potable water systems. As a consequence of aging populations there is an increasing demographic considered at high risk for Legionellosis and, as such, a review of the guidelines is required. Worldwide, Legionella has been detected from many potable water sources, suggesting it is ubiquitous in this environment. Previous studies have identified the limitations of the current standard method for Legionella detection and the high possibility of it returning both false negative and false positive results. There is also huge variability in Legionella test results for the same water sample when conducted at different laboratories. However, many guidelines still recommend the testing of water systems. This commentary argues for the removal of routine Legionella monitoring from all water distribution guidelines. This procedure is financially consuming and false negatives may result in managers being over-confident with a system or a control mechanism. Instead, the presence of the pathogen should be assumed and focus spent on managing appropriate control measures and protecting high-risk population groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: Legionella; L. pneumophila; Legionnaires disease; potable water; water distribution systems; guidelines; risk assessment; risk management; monitoring Legionella; L. pneumophila; Legionnaires disease; potable water; water distribution systems; guidelines; risk assessment; risk management; monitoring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Whiley, H. Legionella Risk Management and Control in Potable Water Systems: Argument for the Abolishment of Routine Testing. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 12.

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