VISN 21 Water Safety Program - VA Sierra Pacific Network (VISN 21)
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VA Sierra Pacific Network (VISN 21)


VISN 21 Water Safety Program

Welcome to the VA Sierra Pacific Network’s Water Safety Portal!

The VA Sierra Pacific Network’s Comprehensive Water Safety Program is in accordance with VHA Directive 1061. This directive addresses the prevention of healthcare-associated Legionella Disease and Scald Injury from potable water distribution systems in VHA buildings.

VHA Directive 1061 establishes policy for the prevention and control of healthcare-associated Legionella disease in VHA-owned buildings in which patients, residents, or visitors stay overnight. These types of buildings include, but are not limited to, acute care facilities, Community Living Centers (CLCs), domiciliaries, Fisher Houses, and other temporary lodging facilities, e.g., hotels.

Legionella is a Gram-negative bacterium, which causes respiratory diseases collectively referred to as legionellosis. Legionellosis includes Legionella pneumonia, traditionally known as Legionnaires’ disease and hereafter abbreviated as “LD” for “Legionella disease”, and Pontiac Fever, a self-limiting respiratory illness. Disease is primarily caused by Legionella pneumophila; however, other species of Legionella can be pathogenic, particularly in transplant and other immunocompromised or high risk patients. The bacteria, found naturally in water, have been associated with disease from building water distribution systems. LD occurs after inhalation or aspiration of contaminated water, followed by a general incubation period of 2 to 14 days. Legionella bacteria are not transmitted from person to person.

VA Directives and Policies

  • VHA Directive 1061 - Prevention of Healthcare-Associated Legionella Disease and Scald Injury From Potable Water Distribution Systems (August 13, 2014);
  • National VA Dental Infection Control Standard
  • VA Plumbing Design Manual (November 2014);
  • The National Infectious Diseases Service recently developed guidance entitled, “Diagnosis of Pneumonia in Patients Caused by Legionella”. This supplemental information supports VHA Directive 1061. The target audience for this document is clinical staff at VA medical facilities and is intended to provide information on Legionella infection clinical presentation, testing to confirm diagnosis, and reinforcement of VHA policy for the prevention of Legionella disease.