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You are here: Homepage > Press Room > Press Releases 2018 > Environmental Health Professionals Trained about Legionellosis

Published 28th August 2018, 9:5am


Eighteen Environmental Health professionals from both the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) and Water Authority-Cayman took part in a two day training session on Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, from July 16 to 17.

The training session, which was held at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) was organised by the DEH Laboratory. Ms. Ruth Otero and Mr. Armando Chamorro, environmental consultants from CIH Environmental Solutions Inc., were the workshop’s presenters.

"Legionellosis, otherwise known as Legionnaires’ disease, is a serious and potentially fatal form of pneumonia which is a lung inflammation caused by infection. The incidence of the illness has been increasing world-wide and it is important that local environmental health professionals be properly informed about how to effectively inspect and educate on this issue which has implications for the Cayman Islands tourism product", says DEH Laboratory Manager, Antoinette Johnson.

Legionellosis is a reportable disease under the International Health Regulations and in recent times, there has been heightened attention to what is known as Tourism-Associated Legionnaires’ Disease (TALD). This refers to an instance where a country has shown up in the travel history of a visitor who has been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease upon their return home. Here in the Cayman Islands, once the presence of the legionella bacteria is suspected, the case will be referred to the DEH for testing and recommendation.

Outbreaks and sporadic cases have occurred in buildings such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships around the world. Although cases of TALD have been rarely linked to the Cayman Islands, the DEH has begun to take the necessary steps to ensure that the Cayman Islands have the ability to reduce the risk of, properly assess and remediate against legionella, should the need arise.

The two day session provided attendees with classroom instruction, which was further supplemented by practical assessments of water sources in buildings which allowed participants to apply their newly-acquired knowledge.

Participants learned how to identify where Legionella propagates, who is at high risk for Legionellosis and how to create a workable Legionella water management plan. They were also taught how to use the most recent set of guidelines published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Presenter, Mr. Armando Chamorro was quite pleased by the level of enthusiasm exhibited by the participants. "I rarely come across such dynamic group of people. Their enthusiasm to face the complex world of assessment, remediation and control of Legionella in the Cayman Islands made my teaching extremely pleasant," said Mr. Chamorro.

The risk of Legionella can be reduced; through the design, maintenance and operation of water services under conditions which prevent or control the growth and multiplication of Legionella bacteria. Included in these is the meticulous cleaning and disinfection of all water systems.

For more information on legionella, please contact DEH’s Laboratory by telephone at 949-6696 or by email at Antoinette.johnson@gov.ky.