Disease outbreaks from drinking water are on the rise, CDC says: 5 takeaways

While advances in water management and sanitation have substantially reduced waterborne disease in the United States, outbreaks continue to occur, according to the CDC's recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Highlighted below are five findings from the report, which provides information on drinking water-associated waterborne disease outbreaks in which the first illness occurred in 2011 or 2012.

1. Between 2011 and 2012, 32 drinking water-associated outbreaks were reported, accounting for at least 431 cases of illness, 102 hospitalizations and 14 deaths.

2. Legionella was responsible for 66 percent of the outbreaks and 26 percent of illnesses, whereas viruses and non-Legionella bacteria accounted for 16 percent of the outbreaks and 53 percent of illnesses.

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3. The two most commonly identified deficiencies leading to drinking water-associated outbreaks were Legionella in building plumbing systems (66 percent) and untreated groundwater (13 percent).

4. The most common exposure settings among drinking water-associated outbreaks were hospitals or healthcare facilities (accounting for 50 percent), hotels (13 percent) and camps and cabins (9 percent).

5. Compared to the previous two-year reporting period (2009 to 2010), the proportion of outbreaks with deficiencies in the federally regulated portions of public water systems between 2011 and 2012 declined from 46 percent to 20 percent, but challenges with noncommunity water systems remain.

Read the full CDC MMWR report here.



More articles on waterborne illnesses and Legionella:
Legionnaires' bacteria discovered in GlaxoSmithKline plant
5 things to know about Legionnaires' disease and the NYC outbreak
10 latest disease outbreaks in the US

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