On May 30, 2018, NACCHO hosted a webinar exploring national guidance and local experiences on Legionella.
Legionnaires’ disease is a respiratory disease caused by Legionella bacteria, which can be found in the water systems of large buildings. In 2016, there were an estimated 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States. During the webinar, participants heard from CDC subject matter experts with the National Center for Environmental Health and the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases about tools and resources available to local and state partners. In addition, attendees heard from local health department staff from Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments regarding their experience with and lessons learned from responding to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
By the end of this webinar, participants were able to:
- Describe signs and symptoms of Legionella infection, how it spreads, and how it can be prevented.
- Identify CDC resources available for state and local health departments to investigate and prevent Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks.
- Explain strategies employed by one local health department for investigating reported outbreaks due to Legionella.
Laura Cooley, MD, MPHTM is a medical epidemiologist in the Respiratory Diseases Branch in the Division of Bacterial Diseases within CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Dr. Cooley transferred to the Respiratory Diseases Branch in 2015 and is devoted to Legionella surveillance, response, and prevention work. Her interest is in strengthening capacity in these interrelated areas to reduce cases and outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease nationwide. Dr. Cooley earned an MD at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 2002. She completed a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Tulane University School of Medicine and obtained a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2010. In 2012, Dr. Cooley joined the US Public Health Service and CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer.
Jasen Kunz, MPH, REHS, is an Environmental Health Officer in the Water, Food and Environmental Health Services Branch (WFEHSB) in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. WFEHSB provides technical assistance, practice-based research, training, tools and guidance to address environmental causes of foodborne and waterborne threats to health. CDR Kunz joined WFEHSB in 2009 where he leads the agency’s environmental health component of preventing and responding to Legionnaires’ disease and co-leads CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code program.
Alana Sulka, MPH, RN, CPH is the Director of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases for Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale (GNR) County Health Departments. GNR is accredited health department serving a population of over one million residents outside of metropolitan Atlanta, GA. In her role, Alana oversees the surveillance, investigation, response, treatment, and control of diseases of Public Health concern. Alana earned her Masters in Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2000 and her nursing degree from Gwinnett Technical College in 2012. In 2015 she became certified in Public Health through the National Board of Public Health Examiners In addition to her education and certifications, Alana is a trained site reviewer for the Public Health Accreditation Board.