When: 23 June 2021
Speakers: Dr Susanne Lee, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Director, Leegionella Ltd
Chair: Victoria McKee, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most dangerous of waterborne pathogens", it can easily acquire and transfer antibiotic resistance, causing illness which can be difficult to treat in our most susceptible patients in healthcare and is a leading cause of death. The outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in 2012 from contaminated water in a neonatal unit resulted in the deaths of three babies and highlights just how dangerous this bug can be if systems are not designed and managed effectively.
Safe management plans depend on effective risk assessments: it is not just a case of checking engineering controls are in place but needs a team approach with clinical and engineering input that also takes into account the behaviour of users and those managing systems and any associated equipment.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa can grow not just in water but also anywhere where there are damp conditions; it is tolerant of a wide range of physical conditions, including temperature and biocides and is universally regarded as a leading cause of waterborne infections in immunocompromised patients in the hospital environment. Its ability to be transmitted from person to person as well as from colonised water systems, equipment, drains and even damp cloths etc. means that an effective risk assessment is essential to ensure the risk to these patients is minimised and effective controls put in place.