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December 3, 1982

Sometimes getting into hot water solves a (Legionella) problem

JAMA. 1982;248(21):2793-2794. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330210003001

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A new sterilization method drastically reduces or eliminates Legionella pneumophila and the Pittsburgh pneumonia agent (Legionella micdadei) from hospital water supplies.

Such a control procedure for nosocomial legionnaires' disease and Pittsburgh pneumonia is needed in many hospitals, said Victor Yu, MD, reporting on the method at the American Society of Microbiology's recent Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Miami Beach. In Yu's and others' experience, the prevalence of these infections is greater than generally thought.

Yu and colleagues had previously implicated the hospital water supply as the source of the more than 100 cases of legionnaires' disease and Pittsburgh pneumonia seen at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh during a three-year period. They investigated the ability of the causative organisms to grow in water at various temperatures, then devised a hospital-wide sterilization procedure to eradicate the bacteria from the water supply. A trial of the method began in