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To evaluate the efficacy of a new monochloramine generation system for control of Legionella in a hospital hot water distribution system
A 495-bed tertiary care hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The hospital has 12 floors covering approximately 78,000 m2.
The hospital hot water system was monitored for a total of 29 months, including a 5-month baseline sampling period prior to installation of the monochloramine system and 24 months of surveillance after system installation (postdisinfection period). Water samples were collected for microbiological analysis (Legionella species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Acinetobacter species, nitrifying bacteria, heterotrophic plate count [HPC] bacteria, and nontuberculous mycobacteria). Chemical parameters monitored during the investigation included monochloramine, chlorine (free and total), nitrate, nitrite, total ammonia, copper, silver, lead, and pH.
A significant reduction in Legionella distal site positivity was observed between the pre- and postdisinfection periods, with positivity decreasing from an average of 53% (baseline) to an average of 9% after monochloramine application (P > .05). Although geometric mean HPC concentrations decreased by approximately 2 log colony-forming units per milliliter during monochloramine treatment, we did not observe significant changes in other microbial populations.
This is the first evaluation in the United States of a commercially available monochloramine system installed on a hospital hot water system for Legionella disinfection, and it demonstrated a significant reduction in Legionella colonization. Significant increases in microbial populations or other negative effects previously associated with monochloramine use in large municipal cold water systems were not observed.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014;35(11):1356–1363