The CDC has released a new analysis of waterborne disease in the United States following a comprehensive 10 year study. The report, Estimate of Burden and Direct Healthcare Cost of Infectious Waterborne Disease in the United States, found that about 7.15 million waterborne illnesses occur annually, leading to over 6000 deaths. Most hospitalizations and deaths were caused by biofilm-associated pathogens (nontuberculous mycobacteria, Pseudomonas, Legionella), costing US $2.39 billion annually.
Premise plumbing water quality can be compromised by long water residency times, reduced disinfectant levels, and inadequate hot water temperatures, creating environments where pathogens (e.g., nontuberculous mycobacteria [NTM], Pseudomonas, and Legionella) can amplify in biofilms, the report states. People can be exposed to these pathogens through contact, ingestion, or inhalation of aerosols (e.g., from showerheads, building cooling towers, or decorative fountains).
“It’s not just about ingestion of water anymore,” said study coauthor Vince Hill, chief of the CDC’s waterborne disease prevention branch, in an interview with CNN. “We captured a more modern picture of what waterborne disease looks like in the United States today.”
Read the full report: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/27/1/19-0676_article