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Legionella Conference 2020 Moves to Chicago With a Health Care Focus

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

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Legionella Conference 2020 will be held in Chicago Aug. 19-21, 2020, with an emphasis on preventing deadly outbreaks in hospitals and health care settings. NSF Health Sciences, an NSF company, and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) are partnering as conference co-hosts to help stem this rising public health threat.

Legionella Conference 2020: Prevention of Disease and Injury From Waterborne Pathogens in Health Care will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Chicago’s downtown riverwalk.

Public health leaders, policy makers, researchers, practitioners and water management systems experts will discuss policies and strategies for the prevention of health care-associated waterborne disease outbreaks, including hazards related to medical devices, cleaning and disinfection in sterile settings, and water quality requirements in hospitals and health care facilities.

Legionnaires’ disease is fatal to 25% of patients who contract it in a health care setting and to 10% of the general population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC recently reported a record number of Legionnaires’ disease cases – 9,933 in 2018, an eightfold increase over 2000. In its August 2019 report called Management of Legionella in Water Systems, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) conservatively estimated the actual number of Legionnaires’ cases each year in United States is between 52,000 and 70,000.

According to an extensive review reported by the CDC in 2016, 90% of outbreaks could have been prevented with a comprehensive water management plan.

“The data continues to tell us that deadly Legionnaires’ disease cases are on the rise, and it also shows the outbreaks leading to these cases may be preventable. Bringing together experts at the Legionella Conference who can effect change is a major step in our commitment to protecting public health,” said Kevan Lawlor, CEO and President of NSF, a global public health organization and safety standards developer.

Legionella prevention in hospitals and health care facilities emerged as an important focus topic at the 2019 Legionella Conference held in Los Angeles.

Legionella is a naturally-occurring bacteria dispersed through man-made water systems in the form of contaminated aerosolized droplets. Common sources are showerheads, cooling towers, public fountains and hot tubs.

Once inhaled, an acute form of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease can develop. Legionella can also lead to the less severe Pontiac Fever illness.

“Environmental health professionals dedicate their lives’ work to protecting our health and the settings that impact our health. It is critical that we continue to shine a light on Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease and the steps that we can take to help prevent these public health threats,” said Dr. David Dyjack, Executive Director of the National Environmental Health Association, which has a membership of nearly 7,000 and trains and educates environmental health and protection professionals around the globe.

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 September 2019 conference in Los Angeles.

The deadline to submit abstracts for oral presentations is March 1, 2020. The deadline to submit abstracts for poster presentations is April 1, 2020. Applications for presentations and posters may be submitted online.

Pre-conference training workshops will be held Aug. 18, 2020, the day before the conference officially begins.

To find out more about the Legionella Conference 2020 or how to present, visit the website at or email

Editor’s Note: For media interviews, please contact Fran LeFort, at +1.734.773.4353 or

NSF 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 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 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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