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Potable Water as a Source of Legionnaires' Disease

Kathryn N. Shands, MD; John L. Ho, MD; Richard D. Meyer, MD; George W. Gorman; Paul H. Edelstein, MD; George F. Mallison, MPH; Sydney M. Finegold, MD; David W. Fraser, MD
JAMA. 1985;253(10):1412-1416. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350340064018.
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A three-year epidemic of legionnaires' disease in a hospital was dramatically curtailed following hyperchlorination of the potable water supply. The hypothesis that potable water was the source for the outbreak was further supported by isolation of Legionella pneumophila (the agent of legionnaires' disease) from the hospital water supply, observation that a sudden upsurge had occurred in the number of cases following a peculiar manipulation of the hospital water system, and documentation of a 30-fold increase in concentration of organisms in the water when this manipulation was artificially recreated. Thus, potable water may be an important source of epidemic legionnaires' disease and continuous hyperchlorination a method of control.

(JAMA 1985;253:1412-1416)


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