Annual Legionella Conference to address major health crisis

A virtual special session of the annual Legionella Conference co-hosted by NSF Health Sciences and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) will focus on disease prevention from waterborne pathogens during a public health crisis. Previously set for January 2021 in Chicago, this special session of the conference has been rescheduled as an interactive virtual event due to the ongoing pandemic.

Hosted by NSF Health Sciences, LLC., an NSF International company, and NEHA, the Legionella Conference is an annual national event that brings together hundreds of stakeholders to discuss issues and challenges related to building water systems.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the special two-day virtual session of the Legionella Conference, Prevention of Disease and Injury From Waterborne Pathogens During an Emergent Health Crisis, will take place March 9-10, 2021 to address how industries such as health care, water utilities, manufacturing and hospitality, as well as health departments and regulators, can better respond to water-related challenges during a major health crisis.

The global pandemic has driven commercial, educational and industrial facility shutdowns as well as low occupancy rates in buildings, posing the unintended consequence of Legionella growth or significant impacts on water quality and operation of building water systems.

Legionella bacteria, which can cause the sometimes fatal Legionnaires' disease, can amplify in the biofilm of water systems with no or low flow, tepid water temperatures or a depleted disinfectant residual.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed risks of Legionella and other bacteria growth in stagnant water in buildings shuttered during the pandemic and has published guidance on steps to take before reopening.

The special session will feature prominent national and international speakers such as Dr. Susanne Surman-Lee (Leegionella Ltd.), Dr. Sebastián Crespí (Biolinea) and various speakers from the water industry and environmental health agencies, including Dr. William J. Rhoads (Eawag Aquatic Research), Steve Deem (Washington State Department of Health), Kelley Dearing Smith (Louisville Water Company) and Mandy Cawby (Water One). This virtual event will provide opportunity for experts from leading organizations to share insights and global perspective on an interactive platform.

Specific topics include technical risk management and sampling strategies, safe reopening of buildings, and state-issued COVID-19 guidance related to water management, emergency planning and resiliency strategies to return to normal operations and prevent further public health hazards during a crisis.

The virtual format leverages a fully interactive, highly engaging platform and will offer keynote addresses as well as breakout sessions. Participating organizations will have the opportunity to set up virtual vendor booths and engage with conference speakers and other attendees.

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