News Release 

Special session of Legionella Conference to address emergent health crisis

NSF Health Sciences and the National Environmental Health Association to co-host virtual conference March 9-10, 2021

NSF International

Scientific Meeting Announcement

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (Dec. 10, 2020) - A virtual special session of the annual Legionella Conference co-hosted by NSF Health Sciences and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) will focus on disease prevention from waterborne pathogens during a public health crisis. Previously set for January 2021 in Chicago, this special session of the conference has been rescheduled as an interactive virtual event due to the ongoing pandemic.

Hosted by NSF Health Sciences, LLC., an NSF International company, and NEHA, the Legionella Conference is an annual national event that brings together hundreds of stakeholders to discuss issues and challenges related to building water systems.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the special two-day virtual session of the Legionella Conference, Prevention of Disease and Injury From Waterborne Pathogens During an Emergent Health Crisis, will take place March 9-10, 2021 to address how industries such as health care, water utilities, manufacturing and hospitality, as well as health departments and regulators, can better respond to water-related challenges during a major health crisis.

The global pandemic has driven commercial, educational and industrial facility shutdowns as well as low occupancy rates in buildings, posing the unintended consequence of Legionella growth or significant impacts on water quality and operation of building water systems. Legionella bacteria, which can cause the sometimes fatal Legionnaires' disease, can amplify in the biofilm of water systems with no or low flow, tepid water temperatures or a depleted disinfectant residual. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed risks of Legionella and other bacteria growth in stagnant water in buildings shuttered during the pandemic and has published guidance on steps to take before reopening.

The special session will feature prominent national and international speakers such as Dr. Susanne Surman-Lee (Leegionella Ltd.), Dr. Sebastián Crespí (Biolinea) and various speakers from the water industry and environmental health agencies, including Dr. William J. Rhoads (Eawag Aquatic Research), Steve Deem (Washington State Department of Health), Kelley Dearing Smith (Louisville Water Company) and Mandy Cawby (Water One). This virtual event will provide opportunity for experts from leading organizations to share insights and global perspective on an interactive platform. Specific topics include technical risk management and sampling strategies, safe reopening of buildings, and state-issued COVID-19 guidance related to water management, emergency planning and resiliency strategies to return to normal operations and prevent further public health hazards during a crisis.

The virtual format leverages a fully interactive, highly engaging platform and will offer keynote addresses as well as breakout sessions. Participating organizations will have the opportunity to set up virtual vendor booths and engage with conference speakers and other attendees.

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Email info@legionellaconference.org or visit the conference registration page for additional details.

NSF International is a global public health organization experienced in supporting businesses to develop, implement and maintain COVID-19 best practices.

Throughout the pandemic, NSF Health Sciences and NEHA experts have responded through public outreach and thought leadership, outlined risk management actions to slow and prevent the spread of Legionella in water systems and compiled information and resources for environmental health professionals.

Editor's Note: For more information or media interviews, please contact Fran LeFort at media@nsf.org.

About NSF Health Sciences LLC and NSF International

NSF International is an independent, global organization that facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products to minimize adverse health effects. NSF International provides risk assessments, testing, inspection and certification services for the water industry from source to tap. Separate from these services, NSF Health Sciences LLC, an NSF International company, provides auditing, training, risk assessments and water safety plan development for building owners and managers concerned about water safety.

About National Environmental Health Association

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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