News Release 

Legionella Conference 2020 will focus on waterborne pathogens in health care facilities

NSF Health Sciences and National Environmental Health Association partner for public health conference; abstracts now accepted

NSF International

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Feb. 14, 2020) - Discussions at Legionella Conference 2020: Prevention of Disease and Injury From Waterborne Pathogens in Health Care will focus on hazards related to medical devices, cleaning and disinfection in sterile settings and water quality requirements in hospitals and health care facilities.

Co-hosted by NSF Health Sciences, an NSF International company, and the National Environmental Health Association, themes for the Aug. 19-21 Chicago conference include:

  • Preventing health care-associated waterborne disease outbreaks
  • Microbiological contamination control in sterile processing
  • Environmental sampling strategies
  • Lessons from conducting outbreak investigations (surveillance, reporting and response)
  • Reducing energy and water consumption while reducing infection risk
  • Building design, construction and renovation
  • Regulatory frameworks for reducing waterborne disease risks in building water systems
  • State and local regulatory inspection of building water systems
  • Updates on federal, state and local legislation and regulations

The spread of Legionella can cause Legionnaires' disease, which is fatal to 25% of patients who contract it in a health care setting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has also reported that 90% of outbreaks in all settings evaluated by the CDC could have been prevented with a comprehensive water management plan.

The number of Legionnaires' disease cases reached a record high in 2018 - 9,933, an eightfold increase over 2000. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has conservatively estimated the actual number of cases each year in United States could be as high as 70,000.

This will be the third annual Legionella Conference bringing together industry experts and policy makers to discuss solutions and prevention. Dr. Patrick Breysse, Director of the CDC's National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, delivered the keynote address to the 360 attendees at the 2019 conference in Los Angeles.


Proposals for expert speaker and research poster presentations for this year's Legionella Conference are now being accepted.

Public health leaders, policy makers, regulators, researchers, infection prevention practitioners and water management systems experts are invited to submit proposals. The deadline for oral presentations and poster presentations is April 1. Applications may be submitted online at

Legionella Conference 2020 will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Chicago's downtown river walk. Visit the website at or email

Editor's Note: For media interviews, please contact Fran LeFort, at +1.734.773.4253 or

NSF International is celebrating 75 years of protecting and improving human health. The global public health organization facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment. NSF Health Sciences is an NSF International company, organizing educational conferences and providing building water health services.

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) currently serves nearly 7,000 members to advance the environmental health and protection professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all. Professionals who earn a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian credential from NEHA are recognized as having achieved an established standard of excellence. These environmental health professionals master a body of knowledge (which is verified by examination) and acquire sufficient experience to satisfactorily perform work responsibilities in the environmental health field.

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