Legionella is a bacterium found in drinking water distributions systems, as well as premise plumbing, hot tubs, hot water heaters, cooling towers, and other building water systems. At high enough concentrations and when inhaled, Legionella can cause Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever, the former of which can be fatal if infected people are not treated with antibiotics. The incidence of outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease has risen four-fold from 2000 to 2014. An ad hoc committee of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has been provisionally appointed and will undertake a comprehensive study on:
- Legionella‘s ecology in built water systems
- Its transmission from water systems to humans
- The incidence of Legionella causing Legionnaires’ disease
- The available data and information regarding Legionella concentrations in various water environments
- What is known about the treatment and control of Legionella
- What policies, codes, and regulations exist to help protect the public from exposure to Legionella
The committee will produce a comprehensive report regarding improvements in the management of water systems to protect public health and identifying gaps in research that are barriers to more effective management. The report will be useful to federal, state, and other agencies with responsibilities to protect public health, supply safe drinking water, and maintain high quality water in built water systems.
View the provisional committee here.
For more information on this project and to subscribe for updates, visit the project webpage here.