31 de jul de 2014

ABIQUIM - Plano de Segurança da Água



A SETRI vai estar presente apresentando o Plano de Segurança da Água.

Water coolers caused infections: CDC - LEGIONELLA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday urged the public to regularly clean and replace the water filters in their drinking-water dispensers, after it identified a water cooler as the source of two newborns’ Legionnaires disease infection last year.
CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said these were the first two cases ever of newborns contracting the water-borne disease by drinking water from a water cooler, and that the findings were to be published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal.
“Both of the newborns resided in central Taiwan and started exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia seven days after their birth. They were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease — a serious type of lung infection — in April and October last year respectively, after their phlegm tested positive for the Legionella bacteria,” Chuang said.
The pair did not live near each other, nor were they delivered at the same hospital, Chuang added.
Chuang said the centers came to the conclusion that the newborns had been infected with the disease after drinking Legionella-laced infant formula, after the same strains of bacteria they were infected with were found around the rims of the outlets for chilled and warm water of the drinking-water dispensers at their homes.
“Luckily, they have both recovered,” Chuang said.
The centers said the disease is extremely rare among children and that the majority of the 115 people infected with the disease last year were aged between 50 and 60.
The disease is not transmitted from person to person and is primarily contracted by inhaling water droplets containing Legionella bacteria, the centers said, adding that symptoms included a loss of appetite, muscle pains, headache, fever and aversion to cold.

30 de jul de 2014

LEGIONELLA um grande problema e números cada vez maiores

Legionnaires' disease in LTC facilities: A hidden threat

In the summer of 2013, the Wesley Ridge Retirement Community inReynoldsburg, Ohio, experienced the largest and deadliest Legionnaires' disease outbreak in state history. Six people died at the assistedand independent-living facility, and another 33 become seriously ill. The victims ranged in age from 63 to 99 years and included residents, visitors and one employee.
For most people, Legionnaires' disease is something from the history books, a vague memory of Philadelphia conventioneers falling ill in the 1970s. In fact, outbreaks of this often-fatal form of pneumonia, including in long-term-care (LTC) facilities, have been increasing for several years in the United States. In just the past three years, nursing home and senior living outbreaks have occurred in BaltimorePittsburghClevelandClearwater, Fla.Jacksonville, Fla.; and Florence, Ala. The worst outbreak in an LTC facility in North Americaoccurred in 2005 at the Seven Oaks Home for the Aged in Toronto, Ontario, where 23 residents died and 112 other people fell ill.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Legionnaires' disease-clinically known as legionellosis-is a form of pneumonia caused by waterborne bacteria of the genus Legionella. It carries a mortality rate of 40 percent when acquired in hospitals.
More than 50 species and subspecies of Legionella exist, several of which can infect people. By far the most common is Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. The bacteria are ubiquitous and usually harmless in the environment, but they easily can grow in warm, stagnant water. In certain circumstances, especially in institutions housing the elderly or in those with chronic illness, Legionella can multiply and cause pneumonia when people aspirate tiny particles while drinking water or showering.
Since 2001, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance reports have stated that Legionella is the single most commonly reported pathogen associated with drinking water outbreaks in the United States. Voluntarily reported cases of Legionnaires' disease tripled from 2000 to 2009, to 3,522 annually. This amount, however, is now known to be a vast underestimate, and some estimates of incidence exceed 10,000 cases per year. As many as 70 percent of all water systems in buildings taller than three stories are contaminated with Legionella. Because it takes specialized laboratory testing to diagnose it, the disease is severely underdiagnosed in long-term care.

26 de jul de 2014

New bug warning over heating birth pools as more cases found - LEGIONELLA

Exemplo do Birth Pools

Health officials investigating a case of Legionnaires’ disease in a baby linked to a home birthing pool have found more contaminated pools.
Public Health England (PHE) has reiterated advice not to use pre-heated home birthing pools after more pools tested positive for Legionella, the bug which can cause Legionnaires’ disease.
Experts last month cautioned against the use of the pools after a baby contracted Legionnaires’ disease. The “severely ill” baby was being treated in intensive care but officials yesterday refused to give any update on the child’s health, saying the case was “now subject to a police investigation”.
As a result of the baby’s infection, the authority advised against the use of pools which have built-in heaters and recirculation pumps filled in advance of labour or birth at home.
PHE tested 10 heated birthing pools, from several suppliers. Results for six revealed four testing positive for Legionella. Three also tested positive for other potentially harmful organisms.
Prof Nick Phin, PHE’s head of Legionnaires’ disease, said: “These latest results have strengthened already serious concerns about the safety of heated birthing pools in the home setting and the potential for contamination from a number of organisms which are recognised causes of infection, and pose particular risks to newborn babies. We do not have concerns about purchased or hired pools that are filled from domestic hot water supplies at the onset of labour, provided that any pumps are used solely for pool emptying.”
Louise Silverton, of the Royal College of Midwives, added: “Women planning birth at home using a traditional pool that is filled when the woman is in labour or using a fixed pool in an NHS unit are not affected by this alert and should not be concerned.”

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/general-news/new-bug-warning-over-heating-birth-pools-as-more-cases-found-1-6750948

25 de jul de 2014

CDC Errs On Policy As Well As Handling Dangerous Pathogens (LEGIONELLA)

The agency’s reactive approach to Legionnaires’ disease causes thousands of preventable infections every year.
Recent revelations about several instances of scientists’ mishandling of dangerous pathogens—including potentially lethal anthrax bacteria and H5N1 bird flu–at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were bad enough. But testifying before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, CDC Director Thomas Frieden confirmed that these were not isolated incidents. He admitted that in spite of a spate of other similar incidents, “We missed the broader pattern.”
Fortunately, no illnesses or fatalities resulted from these mishaps, but the same cannot be said for other, more deliberate actions of the CDC. Deaths have resulted from a conscious, long-standing policy on how to address a common, potentially life-threatening infection, Legionnaires’ disease, a type of environmentally acquired pneumonia. There have been a number of recent fatalities: Six U.S. veterans at the VA Hospital in Pittsburgh, six patients at an assisted living home in Ohio, three hotel guests at a hotel in downtown Chicago and two patients at a major university hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.
Legionella, the cause of Legionnaires’ disease, was originally identified after an outbreak at an American Legion Convention in a Philadelphia hotel in 1976 that killed 34 and sickened 221. The bacterium lurks at low levels in natural fresh water sources (such as rivers, lakes and streams) in virtually every part the world, most often with little impact on humans. It becomes hazardous when it survives municipal water treatments and subsequently contaminates and grows in man-made building water systems such as hot tubs, decorative fountains, shower heads and cooling towers. Left undetected in these locations, it can multiply to high concentrations. People become sickened after inhaling contaminated aerosol droplets generated from these sources.
Unlike most other pneumonias caused by microorganisms, this disease is not transmitted person-to-person; it is purely of environmental origin.
The only way to determine whether a water source is a high-risk Legionella-contaminated system is to take samples of the water to see whether the bacteria grow in a simple and inexpensive culture test in a laboratory.
Although they receive little attention, outbreaks are not uncommon. By far, however, most cases of Legionnaires’ disease are individual sporadic cases that are not known to be associated with larger outbreak clusters, although this may be due to the fact that most sporadic cases are never thoroughly investigated. (Legionnaires’ disease symptoms are similar to other pneumonias and can only be diagnosed by specific laboratory tests.) Estimates of the number of cases annually in the United States range from 8,000 to more than 25,000.
An obvious question is what federal health officials are doing to protect Americans from this disease. The answer is both complicated and puzzling. The approach of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), which has the responsibility for Legionnaires’ disease prevention, is flawed. Perhaps that is not surprising, given that prevention appears not to be NCIRD’s strong suit; its officials also recommended eliminating the fourth booster dose for the childhood pneumococcal vaccine although that would reduce the efficacy of vaccination and result in the death of children (the subject of a previous Forbes article).
The CDC’s recommendations for preventing Legionnaires’ disease have been predominantly focused on what might termed a disease surveillance strategy–a reactive process that relies on screening for disease after cases are detected, at which time a response is quickly undertaken to prevent further infections. Although this strategy works well for person-to-person transmissible diseases where the source of the disease is another infected individual, it is not well suited to situations in which the source of disease is in the environment.
Former Assistant U.S. Surgeon General Dr. J. Donald Millar, who used the disease surveillance approach successfully as the head of CDC’s renowned Smallpox Eradication Program, has long been critical of CDC’s approach to Legionnaire’s disease. In 1997 he warned that disease surveillance was being misapplied to the prevention of Legionnaires’ disease because it is not transmitted from person to person but is contracted solely by exposure to bacteria-contaminated aqueous sources. For such diseases of environmental origin, proactive environmental surveillance, rather than reactive disease surveillance, is the appropriate prevention strategy. 
Others have echoed Millar’s views, but for decades CDC’s position has remained unchanged.
Another indicator that CDC was on the wrong track was the outcome of a 1991 lawsuit in which the U.S. Government was sued following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a Social Security Administration (SSA) building in Richmond, California. The U.S unsuccessfully relied on defense testimony from CDC experts for its defense and was subsequently forced to pay an out of court settlement. Clark W. Patten, the lead plaintiff attorney in the case,recounted that his winning strategy was based on the premise that the U.S. Government (specifically the CDC) should have known how to prevent the outbreak at the federal building.
A closer look at CDC policy over the years reveals the ways that a reactive approach is illogical and ineffective. A recurring theme is that CDC discourages environmental testing until an outbreak occurs. At that point, however, CDC demands testing to demonstrate that all evidence of Legionella is gone for up to a year after the outbreak. Inexplicably, CDC’s current recommendation is still that “an epidemiological association with a probable source should be established before intervention methods, such as disinfection, are undertaken” [emphasis added].
This contradiction–environmental surveillance not needed before an outbreak, but required afterwards–in effect uses people as “canaries in the coal mine” to detect high-risk water sources.
CDC claims that a reason for not performing environmental surveillance is that Legionella test results are uninterpretable in the absence of disease because the concentration of Legionella in a water sample required to cause disease is not fully understood. But Dr. David Krause, the former State Toxicologist for the State of Florida, dismisses this claim: “one does not need to know the concentration of Legionella required to cause disease to prevent it, one just needs to know if amplification is being controlled in the system and a simple periodic Legionella laboratory culture test can provide an answer.” Dr. Krause added that “useful guidance to help building operators interpret Legionella concentrations in water samples has been published for over 20 years by a laboratory in the private sector and have [sic] long been cited in theOccupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) Technical Manual.” Dr. W. Dana Flanders, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Emory University, wrote, “I am concerned CDC seems to be discouraging environmental Legionella testing based on flawed assumptions…when I looked more closely at references they use to support their position, I found that some of them instead actually supported the opposite position concerning benefits of environmental testing.” The problem, Dr. Flanders explained, is, “When CDC discourages proactive, routine environmental testing, the result is that hazardous sources in building settings with high counts may persist and go unrecognized until after an association with disease.” CDC’s posture is puzzling. The number of cases since Legionnaire’s disease was discovered is staggering–on the order of 900,000, and the number of reported cases continues to increase each year. The yearly costs for hospitalizing Legionnaires’ disease patients exceed $400 million, and yet CDC still recommends through their website and scientific publications that concerned parties wait for an outbreak before monitoring and disinfecting building water sources.
Perhaps in CDC’s adherence to this approach we are seeing a syndrome that is common, especially among bureaucrats: the unwillingness of people to admit that they’ve been wrong.
In 1992 Congress changed the official name of the CDC to the “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” but at least for the Legionella Program within the NCIRD, that addendum doesn’t seem to have made an impression.
In the aftermath of the recent mishaps with dangerous pathogens at CDC, Director Frieden said at a press conference, “Events like this should never happen, and that’s why I will do everything in my power to make sure that nothing like this happens again.” While he’s reviewing his agency’s miscues, Dr. Frieden should pay some attention to his agency’s misguided approach to Legionnaires’ disease.

LEGIONELLA - 38 ANOS (JULHO 1976)


Saiba mais sobre a bactéria Legionella que faz vítimas todos os dias no mundo.

www.legionellaespecialistas.com.br

Consulte a SETRI sobre Avaliação de Risco da bactéria Legionella.

www.setri.com.br

24 de jul de 2014

Forsyth County Health Officials Update Citizens on Legionnaires’ disease in a Winston-Salem Nursing Home

According to a press release from the Forsyth County Department of Public Health is continuing their work with the staff at Oak Forest Health and Rehabilitation and with state health officials in order to to investigate an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease among residents of the facility. Six cases of Legionella infection have been identified to date. All of affected residents are improving or have fully recovered.
legionellea bacteria
legionellea bacteria








As part of this investigation, environmental samples were taken from various locations within the Oak Forest facility. Testing of these samples identified low levels of Legionella bacteria.
In response to this outbreak and in consultation with the Forsyth County Department of Public Health and the North Carolina Division of Public Health, Oak Forest Health and Rehabilitation has complied with all recommended control measures to protect residents, visitors, and staff. No new Legionella infections have occurred in facility patients since control measures were instituted.
According to county officials Oak Forest Health and Rehabilitation has hired an environmental engineering firm to assist in remediation of their water system and to help eradicate Legionella bacteria from the facility. Remediation has included superheating, flushing, and hyperchlorination of the facility’s water system. To ensure the continued safety of residents, visitors, and staff, water restrictions will remain in place until Legionella bacteria are no longer identified at the facility through follow-up environmental testing.

21 de jul de 2014

Hoje dia 21/07 faz exatamente 38 anos......

No dia 21/07/1976 na Philadelphia tinha início a convenção dos Legionários. No dia 27/07/1976 foi a óbito a primeira vítima da bactéria LEGIONELLA. Foi nesta época que tudo começou.

Caso da Philadelphia faz exatamente 38 anos.

Para saber mais sobre a bactéria LEGIONELLA, visite o site www.setri.com.br.


HACCP - Plano de Segurança da Água


http://www.setri.com.br/?page_id=35

18 de jul de 2014

EXPO ARQUITETURA SUSTENTÁVEL - PALESTRAS SOBRE VÁRIOS TEMAS LIGADOS A CONSTRUÇÃO SUSTENTÁVEL


http://www.expoarquiteturasustentavel.com.br/Planejador/Conferencia/#



A SETRI participando com o tema de SEGURANÇA DA ÁGUA e a SAÚDE DAS PESSOAS

 

Legionella Found at UPMC Hospital

PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania hospital moved 11 patients from a unit yesterday when Legionella bacteria was found in several sinks. A UPMC spokesperson says infection control staff identified the contamination on the 10D unit in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.
The health system says there are no confirmed cases of Legionella infections on the pulmonary medicine unit where the bacteria was found. UPMC  says it's following normal Legionella monitoring and prevention protocols and expects the unit to reopen after remediation measures are taken.
According to a statement from UPMC, "it is not uncommon for Legionella bacteria to appear in water sources in hospitals or any other facility. That's why we continuously follow rigorous monitoring and prevention measures to ensure the safety of our patients. "
Legionella bacteria can cause a severe form of pneumonia.

17 de jul de 2014

Compost said to be most likely source of Angus legionella cases - Este tipo de caso está ficando comum

Bags of compost have been identified as the likely source of two legionella cases in Angus, a report has found.
Just eight months on from a nationwide outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, Scottish health officials have finally determined that the majority of infections came from an overexposure to compost and incubating soil.
Health Protection Scotland has found that all seven patients had spent time in the garden or outdoors in the two weeks prior to their illness, and six had recently bought compost.
Some strains of legionella are found in soil and potting compost, but investigators found the products used by the patients were bought at different times from different premises.
In all, seven individuals in the Tayside and Lothian areas came down with the illness last autumn — two of whom required treatment at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
The first case came to light on September 9, and was a 50-60-year-old woman, who was a keen gardener and was admitted to intensive care with pneumonia.
Little over a week later a second patient with pneumonia was admitted to intensive care at Ninewells. The man, aged 70-80, also required ventilation.
He was not a keen gardener, but had taken ill after helping his wife in the garden.

16 de jul de 2014

LEGIONELLA NÃO SAI DE FÉRIAS

- Como adelantamos el pasado 10 de julio, compartimos la actualización de la circular de la Comunidad de Madrid cuyo fin es controlar y disminuir la peligrosidad que generan los sistemas de pulverización/nebulización de agua, presentes en espacios abiertos (terrazas, parques, etc.) y en establecimientos de productos frescos (pescaderías, fruterías, etc.) con el objetivo reducir lo máximo posible el riesgo sanitario generado por la Legionella.
El funcionamiento de estos sistemas de refrigeración les hacen ser considerados por el RD 865/2003 como instalaciones de riesgo de proliferación y diseminación de Legionella, y se relacionan con los brotes sucedidos en los últimos años coincidiendo con la llegada del verano y el aumento de las temperaturas.
Estas instalaciones albergan agua a temperatura ambiente pueden llegar a generar gotas de muy pequeño tamaño en zonas de importante afluencia de público, siendo además la distancia entre las personas y el punto de pulverización muy escasa, cumpliendo así todos los requisitos para convertirse en instalaciones de riesgo.
Los niveles de Legionella dependerán, fundamentalmente, del tipo de captación de agua y del tratamiento desinfectante al que sea sometida el agua en cuestión, ya que evidentemente, si no puede asegurarse la desinfección del agua utilizada, no puede asegurarse la falta de presencia de Legionella en la misma.
ESPANHA.

15 de jul de 2014

WATER STEWARDSHIP = PLANO DE SEGURANÇA DA ÁGUA


O AWS sem dúvida é o futuro das grandes organizações e paises que realmente se preocupam com a água.

http://www.allianceforwaterstewardship.org/become-a-water-steward.html#aws-standard

10 de jul de 2014

Legionella cases caused by compost

BAGS of compost sold in the Lothians and east of Scotland have been identified as the likely source of a cluster of legionella cases last year, a report has found.
Between August and October 2013, six confirmed cases and one probable case of Legionella longbeachae were reported in the Lothian and Tayside areas, as the Evening News revealed in September last year.
The major source of human infection with Legionella longbeachae is considered to be commercial growing media, such as soils and composts sold through garden centres, and other composted materials such as bark and sawdust. Older people are more at risk.
A new report by Health Protection Scotland has now found that all seven patients had spent time in the garden or outdoors in the two weeks prior to their illness, and six had recently bought compost.
But the investigators found that the products used by the patients were bought at different times at different premises.
The compost was found to originate in five different manufacturers at five different sites in England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.
There have been only 19 cases of legionella since 2008 in Scotland

IWA WORLD WATER CONGRESS - LISBON - SET/14



A delegação do Brasil até o momento é bem representativa. A SETRI especialista em Plano de Segurança da Água (Water Safety Plan), estará presente.

http://www.iwa2014lisbon.org/registration-hotels-travel/delegate-list/

Shower ban after Legionella bacteria found at Leicester General Hospital

Patients on two hospital wards have been banned from showering after the Legionella bacteria was found at Leicester General Hospital.
They have also been issued with bottled drinking water.
The measures were introduced on wards 28 and 29, used for surgical patients.
One patient, who asked not be to be named, questioned whether the hospital should admit patients while work to clear the bacteria – which can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease – was carried out.
But officials at Leicester's hospitals said patients were safe and the risk of Legionnaires' disease was low.
The patient said: "We were all given letters about the situation, given bottled water and told we couldn't shower or wash our faces for fear of Legionnaires' disease.
"We also had to use the bottled water for brushing our teeth and were given wipes for our face and hands."
The patient added: "I know the hospital is short of beds, however, I don't think you should open wards like this where many of the patients are elderly and quite frail.
"The doctors and nurses were fantastic, but I do think that having the wards open was putting patients at risk and of course the very words Legionella puts fear into people."
The disease is spread by small water droplets that evaporate very quickly from a contaminated water supply.
Legionnaires' disease is a severe pneumonia, an uncommon but serious illness, particularly for those who have weakened immune systems.
The presence of the bug was found during routine checks carried out on June 20. Restrictions are still in place while chlorine dioxide is added to the water supply to kill the bacteria.
Taps and showers are being regularly flushed and the water temperature checked as part of the cleansing process but officials are not yet sure when the system will be back to normal.
Dr David Jenkins, consultant medical microbiologist and deputy director of infection prevention and control at Leicester's hospitals, said: "Recent tests on wards 28 and 29 at Leicester General Hospital have triggered our safety plan, meaning showers on these wards will be out of use until further notice. Alternative body washing arrangements have been introduced.
"Bottled drinking water is also being provided for patients and staff but boiled drinks such as tea and coffee remain safe to drink."
He added: "We would like to reassure our patients that the risk of Legionnaires' disease for our patients remains low and they are safe.
"We would like to emphasise that the measures being taken are precautionary and there are no known cases of infection linked to this incident."
Dr Jenkins said the bacteria had been found in a routine safety check on water supplies.
He added: "Low levels of Legionella are not a cause for concern, however high levels can cause a form of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease so we undertake routine testing to ensure the risk is kept low."
Legionnaires' disease is the result of legionella bacteria infecting a patient's lungs. It is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. It is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person, according to the NHS Choices website.
Legionella bacteria is commonly found – usually at levels which are not harmful – in water sources such as rivers and lakes.
However, the bacteria can rapidly multiply if it finds its way into any artificial water supply systems or into air conditioning systems.

7 de jul de 2014

Legionella detected at Wellington jail

The bacteria which can develop into the potentially fatal legionnaires disease has been detected at the Wellington Correctional Centre.
The Department of Corrective Services says immediate action has been taken to flush out the water system to remove the legionella bacteria.
A spokesman says legionella was detected during routine water sampling in the shower area.
He says there is no risk to public health and the ABC understands no staff or prisoners have legionnaires disease.

Legionnaire’s more fatal with biologics

Patients on biologic therapies are at increased risk of Legionnaire’s disease and considerably more likely to die from it if they are infected, say Australian researchers.
Their review of over 100 cases ofLegionella pneumonia in patients taking biologics showed 19% of those who contracted the disease died of it, compared with reported figures for the general population of just 2% to 6%.
Twelve percent of the survivors needed treatment in an intensive care unit.
Over 70% of infected patients were being treated with biologics for rheumatologic diseases and 16% for inflammatory bowel disease, the authors from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research said.
Infliximab was the biologic most frequently related to Legionella infection, followed by adalimumab and to a lesser extent etanercept.
Most of the patients were also on other immunosuppressant therapies, in particular systemic corticosteroids, methotrexate and azathioprine. Combining therapies may play a role in the added risk and severity of infection, the study authors suggested.
Infections occurred mostly in the first six months of biologic treatment, a finding the authors said was in line with other research showing a decline in the infection risk over time with biologics.
Reporting in Respiratory Medicine, the authors said previous research had shown people taking anti-TNF-alpha medication were 16 to 21 times more likely to contract Legionnaire’s disease compared with the general population.
“Physicians should be aware of this potentially severe association. Early recognition and treatment would likely result in reduced mortality and morbidity,” the authors concluded.

3 de jul de 2014

Food and Water Quality an Ongoing Challenge for Hotels - NSF StaySafer

From the buffet salad bar greens to the ice clinking in drinks served poolside, hotel administrators are finding that protecting guests from food and water illness outbreaks is a continuous challenge.
It’s also a necessary undertaking to demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to its patrons’ well being. Travelers won’t soon forget the awful stomach cramps if they experience a sickness during their stay, and such episodes can cause nearly irreversible damages to a hotel’s reputation.
The global public health and safety organization NSF International launched a new certification program this year to assist hotels and resorts in preventing contamination at its source. It combines inspection and testing of hotels’ water systems and food service operations.
“By adhering to the requirements of the program, a hotel with NSF StaySafer certification will protect both its guests and its brand,” said Sonia Acuña-Rubio, managing director of NSF International’s food division in Latin America who oversees the NSF StaySafer program. “We hope this added assurance will assist hotels in their customer satisfaction efforts and ultimately increase the rate of returning guests while also providing a helpful guide for consumers, tour operators, agencies, and travel sites.”
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 10 million international travelers annually acquire illness from contaminated food and drinking water, such as Escherichia coli infections. Other diseases associated with contaminated food and drinking water include shigellosis or bacillary dysentery, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, norovirus infection, hepatitis A, and salmonelloses, including typhoid fever. Unsafe food and water also can pose a risk of cholera and a variety of conditions caused by protozoan and helminthic parasites.
While a wide variation of food and water quality practices exists from country to country, it’s a misconception that safety concerns are limited to poor areas in developing regions. Many germs have no boundaries, so the NSF StaySafer program will play an important role in establishing a universal set of standards that can be used as a benchmark and complement local requirements.
“Travelers should expect the same level of food and water safety at any NSF StaySafer certified hotel in any country of the world,” Acuña-Rubio said.
A starting point for hotel administrators who want to improve their quality efforts is to review their written policies and procedures for their food service operations and water systems. Focusing on programs, training, and interventions that target these areas will increase hotel employees’ health consciousness.
Once these processes are in place, the next step is to ensure that they are put into practice consistently through onsite facility inspections. The NSF implements two approaches—the NSF DineSafer program and the NSF DrinkSafer protocol—to accomplish this.
NSF evaluates foodservice operations against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s model food code to verify that proper food safety systems and personnel training are in use. According to the food code, epidemiological outbreak data repeatedly identify five major risk factors related to employee behaviors and preparation practices in retail and food service establishments as contributing to foodborne illness: improper holding temperatures; inadequate cooking, such as undercooking raw shell eggs; contaminated equipment; food from unsafe sources; and poor personal hygiene.
When evaluating water distribution and treatment systems, the NSF uses its Water Safety Standard for the Global Hotel Industry. This inspection includes the safety design and maintenance of the hotel or resort’s water and ice systems, and water and ice samples are tested for chemical and microbial contaminants. Annual facility audits and testing ensure ongoing compliance.
Once a facility meets these standards, it receives NSF StaySafer certification. Certified hotels will be listed in the NSF’s online listings database and earn use of the NSF StaySafer mark on marketing materials. This can generate new opportunities for hotels to create a strategic difference and a competitive advantage that is of value to consumers.
The response from the hotel industry to the program has been positive, especially in countries overseas, according to Acuña-Rubio. “There is a growing interest from hotels to improve and verify their quality efforts, but also to let their customers know that they are investing in protecting their health,” she said.
Photo Credit: Water in Glass via Bigstock