Waterborne Opportunistic Pathogens
Water can contain pathogens (bacteria, viruses, amoeba) that may threaten the health and safety of people. Waterborne pathogens, such as Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Naegleria Fowleri are adapted to survive and persist in manmade water systems. Infections may occur during the use of potable water (i.e. water suitable for drinking), particularly in the healthcare environment.
Health care facilities typically have complex building water systems and highly susceptible occupants. Therefore, IDPH stresses the importance of infection prevention and the need for proactive practices to reduce risks to patients, staff and the public in healthcare facilities. A variety of environmental factors associated with warmer temperatures can increase the risk of bacterial infections, especially for water-related diseases like Legionnaires’ disease.