(ANN ARBOR, MI, December 10, 2020) -- Hosted by NSF Health Sciences, 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 conference was rescheduled to August 2021 as an all-virtual event. However, a 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.
The special session will 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. [Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation | CDC]
The special session will feature prominent national and international speakers such as:
- Dr. Susanne Surman-Lee (Leegionella Ltd.);
- Dr. Sebastián Crespí (Biolinea);
- Dr. William J. Rhoads (Eawag Aquatic Research);
- Steve Deem (Washington State Department of Health);
- Kelley Dearing Smith (Louisville Water Co.); 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.