• Legionella Point of Use Filter Meets Manufacturer’s Claim of 62-Day Efficacy

    October 17, 2014

     A point-of-use (POU) filter meets manufacturer’s claims for controlling Legionella for 62 days according to a study in the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control released online.

    October 17, 2014 (Pittsburgh)—A Legionella point-of-use (POU) filter meets manufacturer’s claims for controlling the bacteria for 62 days says according to the October issue of the American Journal of Infection Control released online.

    Special Pathogens Laboratory researchers, Janet E. Stout, PhD, and Julianne Baron, PhD, collaborated with a cancer center in Northwestern Pennsylvania to evaluate the next generation faucet filter called Q point (Pall Medical).

    The 17-week study showed the filter controlled Legionella for 62 days—the first to surpass the 30-day life cycle of other POU filters currently on the market.

    According to Dr. Stout, director of Special Pathogens Laboratory, “This new filter could provide a more convenient and cost-effective solution for infection prevention due to exposure to waterborne pathogens like Legionella and Pseudomonas for immune-compromised patients.”

    In addition to controlling Legionella, the filter entirely eliminated heterotrophic plate count bacteria—total bacteria in water used as an indicator for biocide effectiveness and water quality—for the first two weeks.

  • Legionella Disinfection Changes Microbiome in Hospital Hot Water, Study Shows

    October 09, 2014

    Legionella disinfection changes the microbial ecology or microbiome in a hospital hot water system, says a study published in PLOS ONE Journal.

    “As secondary disinfection is becoming more widely used to control Legionella, we need to understand how these chemicals change the bacterial flora in the water and what these changes imply,” says Janet E. Stout, PhD, director of Special Pathogens Laboratory.

    Dr. Stout, principal investigator of the study, and researcher Julianne Baron, PhD, from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health used next generation molecular sequencing methods—high throughput Illumina 16S rRNA region sequencing and 454 sequencing, to evaluate samples from a hospital’s hot water system treated with onsite monochloramine.

    The results in, Shift in the Microbial Ecology of a Hospital Hot Water System Following the Introduction of an On-Site Monochloramine Disinfection System, show an immediate shift in the microbial population or microbiome. These techniques along with traditional culture, showed changes in Legionella, including rebound during a period of ineffective treatment.

    “The microbiome of the built environment is a new frontier of science. As science and medicine are exploring how bacteria can impact health, it only makes sense to look at the changes in our drinking water,” says Stout. “More studies are needed to understand the consequences of Legionella disinfection technologies in water systems.”

  • 4 Legionnaires' cases confirmed, 2 more tested in North Carolina Nursing Home

    June 16, 2014

    The Wilson County Health Department is reporting four cases of Legionnaires’ disease confirmed at a local facility. There are also two more cases being tested, according to Joyce Wetherington, public information officer for Wilson County Health Department.

    A notice from Peggy W. Bulluck, administrator, is posted outside Wilson Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Services in Wilson.

    The letter, dated Thursday, reads in part: "This memorandum is intended to provide you with information and dispel any rumors you may have heard related to an alleged outbreak of the legionella bacteria in Wilson County.

    "Specifically, we have been advised that one or more facility residents have tested positive for the legionella bacteria.”

    Bulluck writes that Wilson Pines is working with the Wilson County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control to monitor the situation and "institute best practices to contain its spread.”

    Legionnaires’ is a form of bacterial pneumonia. A person may develop Legionnaires’ if he is exposed to legionella through breathing contaminated mist or vapor. It cannot be transmitted from person to person.

    According to health department officials, the people are recovering.

  • ASHRAE Legionnaires’ Standard Fourth Public Review Coming This Summer

    May 15, 2014

    ASHRAE Standard 188P, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, could be available for public review this summer.

    According to an ASHRAE news release on May 15, Tom Watson, chair of the Standard 188P committee says he is “…optimistic that a fourth public review draft…will be approved and made available during the summer.”

    Watson notes this new draft includes some major changes. These include removing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) terminology—what once was the cornerstone of the third draft. While the language may be removed some principles of the HACCP process could still be included.

    The other notable change includes the addition of “environmental Legionella testing consideration.”

    While building industry and other stakeholders have been eagerly awaiting the passage of the standard, Watson cautions against implementing the proposed standard due to more changes that could occur before the official standard is passed.

  • Crews put in new water system at Sharpsburg high rise after Legionnaires' scare

    November 11, 2013

    The copper-silver ion system is expected to disinfect the water at the senior high rise.

    “The ions come off the bars and through the water that comes through the flow cells,” said Janet Stout of Special Pathogens Laboratory.

    Stout said it will be in place for at least a month, and the more Sharpsburg Towers residents run their hot water, the faster the system will kill the bacteria. 

    According to Stout, even though someone recently got sick from Legionella at the building, it could have been there for years and not hurt anyone.

    “I know they did the right thing,” said Peg Panza about the new system.

    Panza has lived in the building for 30 years.

  • Special Pathogens Laboratory Hires VP of Consulting Services

    April 17, 2013

    Legionella services expand with engineering expertise

    Special Pathogens Laboratory announced today that Frank P. Sidari III, PE, BCEE, recently joined the firm to expand its Legionella consulting services.

    Sidari brings significant water and wastewater experience from his work at major engineering firms including URS and ARCADIS/Malcolm Pirnie. In those positions, he conducted all phases of water/wastewater projects including, client and proposal development, studies, field services, detailed design and specification, permitting, and construction services.

    A registered professional engineer, board certified environmental engineer and certified construction document technologist, Sidari joins Special Pathogens Laboratory as vice president for SPL Consulting Services, which provides Legionella risk assessments, outbreak response, water system and disinfection improvements, product evaluation, research, and education.

    “I’m excited to be part of the Special Pathogens Laboratory team and look forward to developing services to improve the quality and safety of building water systems," says Sidari.  

    Experienced in evaluation and disinfection of potable water systems with respect to Legionella, Sidari published the first field evaluation of chlorine dioxide disinfection of a hospital campus water system to control Legionella pneumophila, which appeared in Journal of the American Water Works Association. 

    Dr. Janet E. Stout, director of Special Pathogens Laboratory and research associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, says, “We're pleased that Frank has joined Special Pathogens Laboratory. As a professional engineer, Frank adds a new dimension to SPL Consulting Services. His knowledge of Legionella prevention and control, combined with 15 years engineering experience uniquely positions him to lead our expansion of services to prevent disease due to Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.”

  • Legionnaires' Disease Kills Patient at Pittsburgh VAMC

    January 05, 2013

    An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a VA hospital in Pittsburgh has led to at least one death and sent hospital administration searching for the source of the contamination.

    News of the outbreak broke in November when it was discovered that at least four patients at the University Drive VA Medical Center in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh had been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ (Legionellosis), a potentially fatal disease caused by a bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.

    Interestingly, the Pittsburgh VA Health Care System was once a world-renowned center of Legionella research. Following the outbreak at a convention of the American Legion at a hotel in Philadelphia in July 1976 — which gave the disease its name — VA began intense investigations into the disease. In fact, a VA researcher, Janet Stout, PhD, is credited with discovering that the bacteria is transmitted through an infected water supply.

  • VA under Scrutiny after Legionnaires' cases in Pittsburgh

    December 14, 2012

    Twenty-nine patients at the Veterans Administration hospital in Pittsburgh have been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease since January 2011, raising questions about the institution's safety practices.

  • 5th Case of Legionnaires' Reported at Hospital in Oakland

    November 24, 2012

    The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System on Thursday confirmed another case of Legionnaires' disease, making it the fifth case tied to an outbreak of the pneumonia-like infection that was spread through the water system at its University Drive Hospital in Oakland.

    Legionnaires' cases are not unheard of in Western Pennsylvania. But the location of this outbreak has grabbed the attention of the medical community because it is the same hospital that used to be home to Victor Yu and Janet Stout, researchers who made many landmark findings about the disease -- including the 1982 discovery that tied the spread of the disease to water systems.

    "It is surprising," said Norman Moore, director of scientific affairs for Maine health products manufacturer Alere Inc. and a Legionnaires' researcher for 17 years. "They're the ones who put together how to find Legionnaires' with testing and other discoveries."

    Dr. Stout and Dr. Yu also contend that the outbreak could have been avoided if the VA had better monitored its copper-silver ionization system, a water disinfection method first installed at the University Drive hospital in 1993 specifically to prevent Legionnaires' disease.

    "The system wasn't performing optimally because it wasn't being managed properly," said Dr. Stout, a Legionnaires' expert who used to work in the VA's laboratory and resigned in 2007 in a dispute with VA's management. Dr. Yu was ousted in 2006 by the VA in that dispute. "I don't take it lightly that veterans at the VA have been harmed needlessly," she said. "It's very preventable."

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