Potable Water in Healthcare Facilities
Background, Facts and Solutions for Water Management Programs
In water distribution systems biofilm can develop within a few days even if the water meets drinking water criteria. Biofilm protects the microorganisms within from chemical agents and thermal disinfection procedures, and is extremely difficult to completely eradicate once established. Biofilms contain a large variety of waterborne microorganisms including protozoa (e.g. Acanthamoeba), fungi (e.g. Aspergillus spp., Fusarium spp.) and a number of human pathogenic bacteria.
Legionella pneumophila is perhaps the best-known waterborne bacterium colonizing biofilm, and it can be found in both central storage areas (e.g. water tanks) as well as peripheral water outlets. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known to be a major cause of severe infections, including pneumonia, sepsis, wound and skin infections. Inhalation and aspiration represent the established transmission pathways for Legionella spp., whereas Pseudomonas spp. is reported to be mainly transmitted by contact and aspiration.
Point-of-use (POU) water filters can be used as an additional control measure in those areas where vulnerable and immunocompromised users may come into contact with water as an aid in reducing patient exposure. POU filters are quickly installed which makes them an effective and immediate management tool in acute water contamination situations.