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Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 was isolated from post mortem specimens from 13 out of 58 patients with pneumonia diagnosed at autopsy. The results of a study undertaken in the hospital environment showed that the water plumbing system was colonized with L. pneumophila serogroup 1 which could also be isolated from respiratory devices filled with tap water. Control measures instituted are described.
To assess the efficacy of an alternative disinfection method for hospital water distribution systems contaminated with Legionella.
Disinfection with peracetic acid was performed in a small hospital contaminated with L. pneumophila serotype 1. The disinfectant was used at concentrations of 50 ppm (first three surveillance phases) and 1,000 ppm (fourth surveillance phase) for 30 minutes.
Environmental monitoring revealed that disinfection was maintained 1 week after treatment; however, levels of recontamination surpassing baseline values were detected after approximately 1 month. Comparison of water temperatures measured at the distal outlets showed a statistically significant association between temperature and bacterial load. The circulating water temperature was found to be lower in the two wards farthest away from the hot water production plant than in other wards. It was thought that the lower water temperature in the two wards promoted the bacterial growth even after disinfection.
Peracetic acid may be useful in emergency situations, but does not provide definitive protection even if used monthly.
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