Legionella is effectively controlled with a new onsite monochloramine generation system in a hospital hot water system, says an SPL study in November’s Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology available online.

Evaluation of A New Monochloramine Generation System for Controlling Legionella in Building Hot Water Systems is the first field trial and published study in the US to evaluate the efficacy of a monochloramine generation system to control Legionella in a hospital hot water distribution system. Prior to this technology, monochloramine had been only used at the municipal level in cold water.  

According to Janet E. Stout, PhD, director of Special Pathogens Laboratory, who led the team of researchers that conducted the 29-month study, “This prospective collaboration provides important objective scientific evidence that demonstrates that onsite generation of monochloramine was effective and that treating only the hot water prevented further cases of Legionnaires’ disease. ”

Researchers installed the system (Sanikill, a product of Sanipur [Italy]) at a Pittsburgh 459-bed hospital. Early results, publically reported at the Association of Water Technologies annual conference in 2012, reported a rapid and significant reduction of Legionella within the first week of application. Throughout the study, Legionella was controlled. There was no significant increase in microbial population and none of the negative effects associated with monochloramine use in municipal cold water systems.

“Monochloramine is a promising new technology and viable alternative to historic disinfection methods, especially chlorine, ” says Dr. Stout.