Hospital Water and Opportunities for Infection Prevention


Nosocomial waterborne pathogens may reach patients through several modes of transmission. Colonization of healthcare facility waterworks can occur in the proximal infrastructure, in the distal water outlets, or both. Infections with waterborne organisms such as Legionella, mycobacteria, Pseudomonas, and others cause significant morbidity and mortality, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Hospitals should have prospective water safety plans that include preventive measures, as prevention is preferable to remediation of contaminated hospital water distribution systems. Whole-genome sequencing may provide more informative epidemiologic data to link patient infections with hospital water isolates.

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This work was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH Clinical Center.

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Tara Palmore and Brooke Decker have no conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by the author.

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Correspondence to Tara N. Palmore.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Healthcare Associated Infections

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Decker, B.K., Palmore, T.N. Hospital Water and Opportunities for Infection Prevention. Curr Infect Dis Rep 16, 432 (2014).

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  • Nosocomial
  • Waterborne
  • Legionella