EMSL Tackles Legionella in Ice Machines with Six Nationwide CDC Elite Legionella Testing Labs
According to recent news, one patient died and two more were sickened by the Legionella bacteria found in the ice machines at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s flagship hospital late last year.
The hospital staff discovered the issue when a patient tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease. They analyzed the water system, but received negative test results for Legionella. Medical records disclosed the patient had been restricted to eating ice chips and had inhaled the infected chip or inhaled the melted contaminated water from the ice chip into his lungs. After inspection, the staff revealed that ice machines contain a water reservoir located next to a compressor, which can heat up enough to warm the water in the reservoir and allow the growth of Legionella.
Officials reported the deadly bacteria recovered in ice machines caused a massive renovation and sterilization of approximately 500 machines in UPMC’s 20 hospitals, including flagship Presby in Oakland. Machines that tested positive for Legionella were removed.
“Legionella bacteria are found in the biofilm that coats the pipes that feed water into the ice machine, as well as the ice machine filters and plastic lines,” stated Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “These biofilms become dislodged releasing Legionella bacteria in the water that is then frozen into ice cubes. Legionnaires’ disease can be caused by aspirating either the water that results from ice melt or by aspirating the ice chip itself. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first case of Legionnaires’ disease associated with contaminated ice. Legionella is impossible to eradicate permanently. In order to control the presence of Legionella, a strict maintenance procedure must be in place for the incoming water supply as well as the ice machine itself.”
EMSL is offering a free Legionella webinar on June 18, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. (EST). Register for the webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8026524301425486850. To learn more about Legionella or other indoor air quality (IAQ) testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com or www.LegionellaTesting.com , call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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