Updated Guidance Published on Investigating Cases, Clusters and Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease
Public Health England (PHE) has recently updated its guidance on ‘Investigating cases, clusters and outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease’. It brings together information on Legionnaires’ disease from Public Health England and other organisations to set out the roles and responsibilities for public health investigation and enforcement. It also highlights any specific considerations for investigating potential sources of the infection – both for single cases and for clusters/outbreaks.
The guidance provides a framework for a standardised approach to investigating cases, and the actions to be taken during investigations – including outlining those who need to be notified in the event of a case. Although this this document refers to Legionnaires’ disease (LD), the principles of investigation apply to all forms of legionellosis, for example, Pontiac fever (PF) and Non-pneumonic legionellosis (NPL).
Recent incidents investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been attributed to significant failings as a result of not having suitable and sufficient legionella risk assessments in place. HSE often conclude that staff are not adequately trained, and adequate monitoring systems are not in place – resulting in failures that could potentially go unnoticed for several months.
Inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication can be contributory factors in outbreaks of legionnaires’ and related diseases. The duty holder of a public premises must therefore ensure that suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training is provided, and that their employees are aware of individual responsibilities. Training, including refresher training, is an essential element of an employee’s capability to carry out their work competently and safely.
To view a full copy of the updated PHE guidance, please click here.
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