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Water Associated Organisms

Water-associated organisms can cause serious patient infections. Healthcare facilities often have complex distribution pathways and other features which serve as a favorable environment for the proliferation of opportunistic pathogens such as nontuberculous mycobacteria and Legionella, among many others. Routine clinical care can result in exposure and transmission, either directly or indirectly, from sinks, showers, toilets, and ice machines. Patients also may be exposed to these organisms through medical products (i.e., medications and medical devices), which can become contaminated at the point of manufacture or at the healthcare facility through improper handling (e.g., storage, preparation, or administration of the products near water sources). Water-associated organisms have caused many outbreaks in healthcare settings and these outbreaks can be challenging to detect and control. A number of resources are available to help investigate and halt healthcare outbreaks due to water-associated organisms.

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Commonly encountered water-associated organisms in healthcare with CORHA reference links:

Last Updated Jan. 14, 2023

Disclaimer: The positions and views expressed in these materials do not necessarily represent the official positions of CORHA’s member organizations.