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Application of Hydrogen Peroxide as an Innovative Method of Treatment for Legionella Control in a Hospital Water Network

Department Translational Research, N.T.M.S., University of Pisa, via S. Zeno 35-37, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Pisa, 56127 Pisa, Italy
Azienda USL6 Livorno, via Forlanini 26, 57125 Piombino, Livorno, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Claudiu T. Supuran and Lawrence S. Young
Pathogens 2017, 6(2), 15;
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 5 April 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogen Legionella pneumophila)
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide (HP) use as a disinfectant in the hospital water network for the control of Legionella spp. colonization. Methods: Following the detection of high levels of Legionella contamination in a 136-bed general hospital water network, an HP treatment of the hot water supply (25 mg/L) was adopted. During a period of 34 months, the effectiveness of HP on Legionella colonization was assessed. Legionella was isolated in accordance with ISO-11731 and identification was carried out by sequencing of the mip gene. Results: Before HP treatment, L. pneumophila sg 2–15 was isolated in all sites with a mean count of 9950 ± 8279 cfu/L. After one-month of HP treatment, we observed the disappearance of L. pneumophila 2–15, however other Legionella species previously not seen were found; Legionella pneumophila 1 was isolated in one out of four sampling sites (2000 cfu/L) and other non-pneumophila species were present in all sites (mean load 3000 ± 2887 cfu/L). Starting from September 2013, HP treatment was modified by adding food-grade polyphosphates, and in the following months, we observed a progressive reduction of the mean load of all species (p < 0.05), resulting in substantial disappearance of Legionella colonization. Conclusion: Hydrogen peroxide demonstrated good efficacy in controlling Legionella. Although in the initial phases of treatment it appeared unable to eliminate all Legionella species, by maintaining HP levels at 25 mg/L and adding food-grade polyphosphates, a progressive and complete control of colonization was obtained. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrogen peroxide; Legionella; hospital; disinfection hydrogen peroxide; Legionella; hospital; disinfection
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Casini, B.; Aquino, F.; Totaro, M.; Miccoli, M.; Galli, I.; Manfredini, L.; Giustarini, C.; Costa, A.L.; Tuvo, B.; Valentini, P.; Privitera, G.; Baggiani, A. Application of Hydrogen Peroxide as an Innovative Method of Treatment for Legionella Control in a Hospital Water Network. Pathogens 2017, 6, 15.

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