(HealthDay News) – Sanitation and water management in the United States has improved, but potentially preventable outbreaks of drinking water-associated disease, sometimes fatal, still occur, according to a report published in the Sept. 6 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Elizabeth D. Hilborn, DVM, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System to estimate the prevalence of drinking water-associated waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States.
The researchers found that there were 33 drinking water-associated outbreaks reported from 2009–2010, the most recent years for which finalized information is available. These outbreaks consisted of 1,040 illnesses that resulted in 85 hospitalizations and nine deaths. The deaths were all associated with Legionella, which was responsible for 58% of the outbreaks and 96% of the hospitalizations.
“The most commonly identified outbreak deficiencies in drinking water-associated outbreaks were Legionella in plumbing systems (57.6%), untreated ground water (24.2%), and distribution system deficiencies (12.1%), suggesting that efforts to identify and correct these deficiencies could prevent many outbreaks and illnesses associated with drinking water,” the authors write.