Once Legionella is detected in your facility, the protocol is to contact the State or County Health Department. If the news breaks publicly, be prepared to receive calls or have a camera crew turn up from your local media.
Here some recommendations on how to handle the next steps:
- Designate a spokesperson for the facility and notify all other staff members who the spokesperson is and how to direct inquiring reporters.
- Immediately notify your Water Management Committee and follow your program guidelines.
- An investigation of the water system will be needed, which includes the sampling of possible sources of the bacteria contamination. It is important to perform CULTURE analysis, since PCR sampling analysis can give a false positive.
- Isolate all possible sources of Legionella contamination until results from the laboratory are know (which can take up to two weeks).
- Cooperate with all health department officials, as they can be a valuable source of information, experience, support and ideas.
Lessons learned from recent Legionella outbreaks show that facilities are not as prepared as they think they are when a case hits. We can help review and update your Water Management Committee program to ensure your plans are in compliance and easily accessible to your staff.