Major article| Volume 42, ISSUE 11, P1193-1196, November 2014

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Field evaluation of a new point-of-use faucet filter for preventing exposure to Legionella and other waterborne pathogens in health care facilities

Published:September 15, 2014DOI:


      • Newly designed faucet filters eliminate Legionella beyond 62 days of use.
      • Point-of-use faucet filters entirely eliminated heterotrophic plate count bacteria for the first 2 weeks.
      • After week 2, filtered water had an average 1.86 log reduction in heterotrophic plate count bacteria.
      • Point-of-use filters are effective in preventing Legionella exposure in high-risk units.


      Opportunistic waterborne pathogens (eg, Legionella, Pseudomonas) may persist in water distribution systems despite municipal chlorination and secondary disinfection and can cause health care–acquired infections. Point-of-use (POU) filtration can limit exposure to pathogens; however, their short maximum lifetime and membrane clogging have limited their use.


      A new faucet filter rated at 62 days was evaluated at a cancer center in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Five sinks were equipped with filters, and 5 sinks served as controls. Hot water was collected weekly for 17 weeks and cultured for Legionella, Pseudomonas, and total bacteria.


      Legionella was removed from all filtered samples for 12 weeks. One colony was recovered from 1 site at 13 weeks; however, subsequent tests were negative through 17 weeks of testing. Total bacteria were excluded for the first 2 weeks, followed by an average of 1.86 log reduction in total bacteria compared with controls. No Pseudomonas was recovered from filtered or control faucets.


      This next generation faucet filter eliminated Legionella beyond the 62 day manufacturers' recommended maximum duration of use. These new POU filters will require fewer change-outs than standard filters and could be a cost-effective method for preventing exposure to Legionella and other opportunistic waterborne pathogens in hospitals with high-risk patients.

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