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Health Department Hosts Legionnaires Prevention Workshop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, March 28, 2019

CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft (Bill.Chalcraft@state.sd.us), (605) 773-3361 

Health Department Hosts Legionnaires Prevention Workshop


PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health will host a workshop for cooling tower owners, operators, installers, and water treatment consultants on the proper operation and maintenance of cooling towers to prevent cases of Legionnaires disease.  The training will be held Wednesday, April 10th at the Sioux Falls Health Department, 521 North Main Avenue. Registration is free. To register for the training visit: doh.sd.gov/news/legionnaires.


The presenter for the training will be Chris Boyd, general manager of NSF International and former Assistant Commissioner of Environmental Sciences and Engineering for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. During his time in New York City, he led the agency’s response to the largest Legionella outbreak in the city’s history.


Participants in the workshop will learn about the risks associated with cooling towers and Legionnaires disease, what owners can expect from their water treatment consultant, and best practice protocols for preseason startup.


Last summer, a community increase of Legionnaires disease occurred in the Sioux Falls area, in which 16 people became ill and one died. No definitive cause for the increase was identified by epidemiologic investigation or environmental assessment and testing.   Statewide in 2018, a total of 33 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were reported, more than double the number of cases reported in 2017.


Occurring more frequently in hot humid weather, Legionnaires’ disease is spread by inhaling the fine spray from water sources containing Legionella bacteria. It is not spread person to person or by consuming drinking water. Nationally, cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been associated with cooling towers, decorative fountains or hot tubs.


Preventing and controlling infectious disease is one objective of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, http://doh.sd.gov/strategicplan.


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