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Special Pathogens Laboratory publishes study on the efficacy of 62-day point of use filters and provides a summary of product specifications to assist infection preventionists and healthcare engineers in choosing the best filter to control healthcare-acquired infections from Legionella and waterborne pathogens. The study appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

Special Pathogens Laboratory’s conducted a field evaluation of a 62-day point-of-user filter and examined peer-reviewed literature to summarize the efficacy and performance of previously evaluated point-of-use filters. Appearing in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, “Point-of-use filters for prevention of health care−acquired Legionnaires’ disease: Field evaluation of a new filter product and literature review” aims to inform infection preventionists and healthcare engineers so they can choose the best product amid competing manufacturers’ claims.

Legionella and opportunistic waterborne pathogens including Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Burkholderia, Stenotrophomonas, and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria can cause life threatening infections in healthcare facilities, especially in immunocompromised patients. In June 2017, CMS established that healthcare facilities must develop and adhere to policies and procedures designed to reduce the risk of growth and transmission of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens in healthcare building water systems.

Immunocompromised patients, especially those in burn units, hematology-oncology units, transplant units, and NICUs, benefit from water that meets a higher standard for microbiologic quality than normal tap water. Point-of-use filters can improve water quality because they provide a physical barrier between waterborne pathogens and vulnerable individuals. These filters attach directly to faucets and showers or placed in-line, and most filter out bacteria by particle size exclusion, usually 0.2 microns or smaller.

Point of use filters have been documented to protect high-risk populations from waterborne opportunistic infections. This has resulted in a growing number of product options from numerous manufacturers including, length of use, filter materials, and design. As the number of POU filter products introduced into the marketplace increases, this study provides objective data for easy product comparisons.

“We hope our study will provide much needed comparative data so healthcare professionals can determine the filter best equipped to prevent infections from opportunistic pathogens,” says Dr. Janet E. Stout, president of Special Pathogens Laboratory and a co-author of the study.

This is the third article on the efficacy of point-of-use filters used to control Legionella and other waterborne pathogens by Special Pathogens Laboratory published in the America Journal of Infection Control.