Watts targets opportunistic pathogens at symposium

“Almost 1 in 20 people leaving hospital are leaving with an HAI, or Hospital Acquired Illness,” stated Munish Nanda, Watts Water Technologies’ president of the Americas, as he opened the Watts Healthcare Symposium in North Andover, Mass. in October.

“When they leave hospital, they are not expecting to walk away with another illness.”

To help combat these illnesses, he advised that the information that modern buildings gather and collect via such infrastructure as their building automation systems can be used to predict potential problems and to help with preventative service plans.

Plumbers play a critical role in the successful implementation of a waterborne infection prevention and control plan, added Shatha Salah, environmental manager at UAB Medicine (pictured), a hospital in Alabama that had to work through a deadly Legionella outbreak in 2014, and which has implemented plans that are compliant with ASHRAE Standard 188.

“There has been a paradigm shift in waterborne disease,” stated Virginia Tech’s William Rhoads, a research scientist with expertise in pathogens and outbreaks of disease. “We’ve seen a decrease in drinking water outbreaks over the years, but we are seeing a change in the types of organisms that are causing these outbreaks, with opportunistic pathogens like Legionella on the rise.”

He suggested that routine maintenance, as well as communication and guidance, can help facilities mitigate the risks arising from cooling towers and plumbing systems.