An Interview with Olga Guzman
July 13, 2022
What was the first sign that your facility might be experiencing a waterborne outbreak?
In 2014, we received reports of a pattern of positive cultures in the facility.
What was the pathogen?
What were the first steps you took to remediate the outbreak? And any additional steps after that?
The first thing we did was check the aerators on all the faucets. We wanted to confirm if aerators were present on all of the faucets, and when we did, we noticed evidence of black residue on some aerators. We decided to collect environmental samples on those faucets that had black reside on the aerator.
Who was involved in the team to manage the outbreak?
We had a cross-functional team involved that included members of the following departments: Pediatric Infectious Disease Doctor, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) leadership, Hospital administration, Infection Prevention, an outside consulting firm, and the hospital laboratory.
How did your experience with the outbreak change your water management plan?
There was no water management plan prior to the outbreak. After the outbreak, a new national Kaiser Permanente water management standard was developed.
Was the source of the outbreak ever confirmed?
In this case, it was confirmed that the potable water was responsible for the outbreak in the unit.
Do you have advice for healthcare facilities that have not experienced an outbreak?
- Develop a comprehensive water management plan
- Establish a multidisciplinary water management team and meet regularly to ensure adherence to the plan
- Develop a risk assessment to determine if point-of-use filtration and/or a secondary disinfection system is needed
Thank you for your interest. We will be in touch soon.
Olga Guzman - RN Hospital Epidemiology & Infection Prevention
Marissa Khoukaz - Business Development Manager— Hospital Water
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