How Many People Does it Take to Track Waterborne Illness in the United States?

I’m always surprised at how many people it takes to prepare this report every 2 years. Many years (several decades) past it took no more than 2 people: Ed Lippy and Gunter Craun of EPA-Cincinnati. Now it takes 10 people, 8 from CDC and 2 people from EPA! So does that mean:

2 Past EPA employees = 8 Current CDC employees + 2 Current EPA employees?


Karlyn D. Beer, Julia W. Gargano, Virginia A. Roberts, Vincent R. Hill, Laurel E. Garrison, Preeta K. Kutty, Elizabeth D. Hilborn, Timothy J. Wade, Kathleen E. Fullerton, Jonathan S. Yoder. Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water — United States, 2011–2012. MMWR, August 14, 2015, Vol. 64, No. 31.

What is already known on this topic?

Waterborne disease outbreaks associated with drinking water
continue to occur in the United States. CDC collects data on
waterborne disease outbreaks submitted from all states and
territories through the Waterborne Disease and Outbreak
Surveillance System.

What is added by this report?

During 2011–2012, a total of 32 drinking water–associated
outbreaks were reported to CDC, resulting in 431 cases of
illness, 102 hospitalizations, and 14 deaths. Legionella
accounted for 66% of outbreaks and 26% of illnesses, and
viruses and non-Legionella bacteria together accounted for 16%
of outbreaks and 53% of illnesses. The two most commonly
identified deficiencies leading to drinking water–associated
outbreaks were Legionella in building plumbing systems (66%)
and untreated groundwater (13%).

What are the implications for public health practice?

Efforts to identify and correct the deficiencies implicated in
drinking water–associated outbreaks, particularly Legionella
growth in plumbing systems, and contaminated groundwater,
could prevent many outbreaks and illnesses. Additional
research is needed to understand the interventions and
regulations that are most effective for controlling the growth of
Legionella and for reducing outbreaks of legionellosis.

Pages from wbd 2011-12

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