Waterborne infection suspected at NYC cancer center

By: September 19th, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City is warning patients and staff members not to drink the water.

A patient at the center tested positive for Legionnaire’s disease which prompted the center to add warnings to discontinue use of showers, sinks and water fountains, reported NY1 News, September 18.

Hospital officials said that tests on other patients and the water supply have been negative for Legionnaire’s disease, but until the situation is resolved the hospital is “providing bottled water for drinking and pre-moistened towelettes for bathing,” according to the report.

An article in the August issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety reported on waterborne diseases. According to the article, while not so much a concern for other types of buildings, healthcare facilities are required by code to do the following which may contribute to waterborne disease risks:

  • Circulate potable hot water at temperatures that ­facilitate Legionella growth
  • Install many sinks and showers with low usage
  • Grossly oversize potable piping because of building fixture count codes
  • Compound the above risks by requirements for very low flow restrictors

Click here to read an excerpt from “Hospitals need to assess risks of waterborne pathogens.”


By Joan Mallick on September 21st, 2011 at 8:39 am

Legionnaire’s disease is not spread by drinking water. It is spread by particles in the air that splash or spray from water sources. This was a catchy title, but has the potential to worry people about drinking water.

By concernsatsloankettering on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:32 pm

e: mskcc/legionella

from a substantiated (see: http://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=307012641) OSHA complaint of 2004.

Stagnant water (such as that which accumulates secondary to the ceiling-leak-’phenomena’), combined with ductwork problems and an endless source of exposure to microorganisms may constitute a legionella or pneumonia (causative agent) hospitable environment and it may be appropriate to consider the installation of ultraviolet germicidal lights in the ductwork systems, similar to those apparently studied in The Lancet, (2003, 362 (9898), 1785), if such systems are not already in use and are not in variance with intermittent contact with volatile chemicals that may coincidentally ’seep’ into the ductwork.

mskcc has many facilities management flaws. this should not surprise anyone

By concernsatsloankettering on September 22nd, 2011 at 4:33 pm

the correct url for the above mentioned osha citation is:


thank you.


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