Health Stream issue 88

February 1, 2018

If you were on leave at the end of December you might have missed an email telling you that issue 88 of Health Stream had been published.

Main new items in this edition are:

Havelock North Inquiry Final Report
The August 2016 outbreak resulted in approximately 5,500 cases of gastroenteritis, 45 hospitalisations and 3 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome among 14,000 exposed residents. The Inquiry Report made 51 recommendations for changes to the management and regulation of drinking water supplies to reduce the likelihood of such outbreaks recurring in the future. Key recommendations include abolition of the classification of “secure” groundwater supplies, universal treatment of all public drinking water supplies, legislative amendments to improve enforcement of compliance with drinking water standards, the formation of an independent Drinking Water Regulator and the creation of dedicated and aggregated drinking water suppliers.

US Waterborne Outbreaks 2013-2014
The United States Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System (WDOSS) documented 42 drinking water-related outbreaks, 15 outbreaks associated with environmental water exposures and 12 outbreaks related to undetermined types of water exposure during the most recent two-year surveillance period. The overall pattern of drinking water outbreaks revealed outbreaks of acute respiratory infection attributable to Legionella species being more common (57% of 42 outbreaks) than acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) outbreaks associated with enteric pathogens (37% of outbreaks). There were also two outbreaks of AGI associated with chemical contamination of water supplies, and two AGI outbreaks related to exposure to cyanobacterial toxins. This is the first time that outbreaks relating to exposure to cyanobacterial toxins in drinking water have been reported to the WBDOSS.

NASEM Legionella Management Review
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) announced the formation of an expert scientific committee to review and report on the management of Legionella in water systems. The committee will review the state of science with respect to Legionella contamination of water systems and prepare a report on aspects including ecology and diagnosis, transmission via water systems, quantification of Legionella in water supplies and rates of legionellosis over time, prevention and control of Legionella growth in water systems, and preventing exposure of at risk populations, policy and training issues which impact on the incidence, control, quantification, and prevention of legionellosis, and identification of research gaps.

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