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Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water — United States, 2013–2014


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Katharine M. Benedict, DVM, PhD1,2; Hannah Reses, MPH2; Marissa Vigar, MPH2; David M. Roth, MSPH2; Virginia A. Roberts, MSPH2; Mia Mattioli, PhD2; Laura A. Cooley, MD3; Elizabeth D. Hilborn, DVM4; Timothy J. Wade, PhD4; Kathleen E. Fullerton, MPH2; Jonathan S. Yoder, MPH, MSW2; Vincent R. Hill, PhD2 (View author affiliations)

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Summary

What is already known about this topic?

Waterborne disease and outbreaks associated with drinking water continue to occur in the United States. CDC collects data on waterborne disease outbreaks submitted from all states and territories through the National Outbreak Reporting System.

What is added by this report?

During 2013–2014, a total of 42 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported to CDC, resulting in at least 1,006 cases of illness, 124 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths. Legionella was responsible for 57% of outbreaks and 13% of illnesses, and chemicals/toxins and parasites together accounted for 29% of outbreaks and 79% of illnesses. Eight outbreaks caused by parasites resulted in 289 (29%) cases, among which 279 (97%) were caused by Cryptosporidium and 10 (3%) were caused by Giardia duodenalis. Chemicals or toxins were implicated in four outbreaks involving 499 cases, with 13 hospitalizations, including the first outbreaks associated with algal toxins.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Continued public health surveillance is necessary to detect waterborne disease and monitor health trends associated with drinking water exposure. When drinking water is contaminated by infectious pathogens, chemicals, or toxins, public health agencies need to provide rapid detection, identification of the cause, and response to prevent and control waterborne illness and outbreaks. Effective water management programs in buildings at increased risk for Legionella growth and transmission can reduce the risk for disease from drinking water pathogens.

Provision of safe water in the United States is vital to protecting public health (1). Public health agencies in the U.S. states and territories* report information on waterborne disease outbreaks to CDC through the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/index.html). During 2013–2014, 42 drinking water–associated outbreaks were reported, accounting for at least 1,006 cases of illness, 124 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths. Legionella was associated with 57% of these outbreaks and all of the deaths. Sixty-nine percent of the reported illnesses occurred in four outbreaks in which the etiology was determined to be either a chemical or toxin or the parasite Cryptosporidium. Drinking water contamination events can cause disruptions in water service, large impacts on public health, and persistent community concern about drinking water quality. Effective water treatment and regulations can protect public drinking water supplies in the United States, and rapid detection, identification of the cause, and response to illness reports can reduce the transmission of infectious pathogens and harmful chemicals and toxins.

To provide information about drinking water–associated waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States in which the first illness occurred in 2013 or 2014 (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/drinking-surveillance-reports.html), CDC analyzed outbreaks reported to the CDC Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System through NORS (https://www.cdc.gov/nors/about.html) as of December 31, 2015. For an event to be defined as a waterborne disease outbreak, two or more cases must be linked epidemiologically by time, location of water exposure, and illness characteristics; and the epidemiologic evidence must implicate water exposure as the probable source of illness. Data requested for each outbreak include 1) the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; 2) the etiologic agent (confirmed or suspected); 3) the implicated water system; 4) the setting of exposure; and 5) relevant epidemiologic and environmental data needed to understand the outbreak occurrences and for determining the deficiency classification.§ One previously unreported outbreak with onset date of first illness in 2012 is presented but is not included in the analysis of outbreaks that occurred during 2013–2014.

Public health officials from 19 states reported 42 outbreaks associated with drinking water during the surveillance period (Table 1) (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/drinking-water-tables-figures.html). These outbreaks resulted in at least 1,006 cases of illness, 124 hospitalizations (12% of cases), and 13 deaths. At least one etiologic agent was identified in 41 (98%) outbreaks. Counts of etiologic agents in this report include both confirmed and suspected etiologies, which differs from previous surveillance reports. Legionella was implicated in 24 (57%) outbreaks, 130 (13%) cases, 109 (88%) hospitalizations, and all 13 deaths (Table 1). Eight outbreaks caused by two parasites resulted in 289 (29%) cases, among which 279 (97%) were caused by Cryptosporidium, and 10 (3%) were caused by Giardia duodenalis. Chemicals or toxins were implicated in four outbreaks involving 499 cases, with 13 hospitalizations, including the first reported outbreaks (two outbreaks) associated with algal toxins in drinking water.

The most commonly reported outbreak etiology was Legionella (57%), making acute respiratory illness the most common predominant illness type reported in outbreaks (Table 2). Thirty-five (83%) outbreaks were associated with public (i.e., regulated), community or noncommunity water systems, and three (7%) were associated with unregulated, individual systems. Fourteen outbreaks occurred in drinking water systems with groundwater sources and an additional 14 occurred in drinking water systems with surface water sources. The most commonly cited deficiency, which led to 24** (57%) of the 42 drinking water–associated outbreaks, was the presence of Legionella in drinking water systems. In addition, 143 (14%) cases were associated with seven (17%) outbreak reports that had a deficiency classification indicating “unknown or insufficient information.”

Among 1,006 cases attributed to drinking water–associated outbreaks, 50% of the reported cases were associated with chemical or toxin exposure, 29% were caused by parasitic infection (either Cryptosporidium or Giardia), and 13% were caused by Legionella infection (Table 2). Seventy-five percent of cases were linked to community water systems. Outbreaks in water systems supplied solely by surface water accounted for most cases (79%). Of the 1,006 cases, 86% originated from outbreaks in which the predominant illness was acute gastrointestinal illness. Three (7%) outbreaks in which treatment was not expected to remove the contaminant were associated with a chemical or toxin and resulted in 48% of all outbreak-associated cases.

Discussion

Water treatment processes, regulations, and rapid response to illness outbreaks continue to reduce the transmission of pathogens, reduce exposure to chemicals and toxins, and protect the public drinking water supplies in the United States. Outbreaks reported during this surveillance period include the first reports of drinking water–associated outbreaks caused by harmful algal blooms as well as the continued challenges of preventing and controlling illnesses and outbreaks caused by Legionella and Cryptosporidium. Outbreaks in community water systems caused by chemical spills (West Virginia) (2), harmful algal blooms (Ohio), Cryptosporidium (Oregon) (3), and Legionella (Michigan) demonstrated that diverse contaminants can cause interruptions in water service, illnesses, and persistent community concern about drinking water quality. Outbreaks in community water systems can trigger large and complex public health responses because of their potential for causing communitywide illness and decreasing the availability of safe water for community members, businesses, and critical services (e.g., hospitals). These outbreaks highlight the importance of public health and water utility preparedness for emergencies related to contamination from pathogens, chemicals, and toxins.

Legionella continues to be the most frequently reported etiology among drinking water–associated outbreaks (4). All of the outbreak-associated deaths reported during this surveillance period as well as all of the outbreaks reported in hospital/health care settings or long-term care facilities, were caused by Legionella. A review of 27 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak investigations in which CDC participated during 2000–2014 identified at least one water system maintenance deficiency in all 23 investigations for which this information was available, indicating that effective water management programs in buildings at increased risk for Legionella growth and transmission (e.g., those with more than 10 stories or that house susceptible populations) can reduce the risk for Legionnaires’ disease (5,6). Although Legionella was detected in drinking water, multiple routes of transmission beyond ingestion of contaminated water more likely contributed to these outbreaks, such as aerosolization from domestic or environmental sources. Cryptosporidium was the second most common cause of both outbreaks and illnesses, demonstrating the continued threat from this chlorine-tolerant pathogen when drinking water supplies are contaminated. Existing drinking water regulations and filtration systems targeted to control Cryptosporidium help protect public health in community water systems that are primarily served by surface water sources or groundwater sources under the influence of surface water (7). Through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases (ELC) Cooperative Agreement, CDC has recently begun a laboratory-based cryptosporidiosis surveillance system in the United States, CryptoNet, to better track Cryptosporidium transmission and rapidly identify outbreak sources through molecular typing (8). The cyanobacterial toxin microcystin caused the largest reported toxin contamination of community drinking water in August 2013 and September 2014 and was responsible for extensive community and water disruptions. In June 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency released specific health advisory guidance for microcystin concentrations in drinking water (9). The contamination of a community drinking water supply with 4-metholcyclohexanementanol (MCHM) also illustrates the importance of source water protection from chemicals and toxins (2).

The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, 17% of drinking water–associated outbreak reports could not be assigned a specific deficiency classification other than “unknown or insufficient information,” because of a lack of information. Furthermore, the deficiency classification most frequently reported (“presence of Legionella in drinking water systems”) does not provide insight into the specific factors contributing to Legionella amplification and transmission. Second, the detection and investigation of outbreaks might be incomplete. Because of universal exposure to water, linking illness to drinking water is inherently difficult through traditional outbreak investigation methods (e.g., case-control and cohort studies) (10). Finally, reporting capabilities and requirements vary among states and localities. Therefore, outbreak surveillance data likely underestimate actual occurrence of outbreaks and should not be used to estimate the actual number of outbreaks or cases of waterborne disease.

Public health surveillance is necessary to detect waterborne disease and outbreaks, and to continue to monitor health trends associated with drinking water exposure. Despite resource constraints, 19 states reported drinking water–associated outbreaks for 2013–2014 compared with 14 for the previous reporting period (4). In this reporting cycle, more reported outbreaks and cases were caused by parasites and chemicals than by non-Legionella bacteria, and more cases were reported from community systems than from individual systems. Most of the outbreaks and illnesses reported in this period were in community systems, which serve larger numbers of persons; outbreaks in these systems can sicken entire communities. Although individual, private water systems likely serve fewer persons than community systems, they can still result in relatively large numbers of illnesses. One outbreak reported during 2013–2014 in an individual system led to 100 estimated illnesses associated with a wedding. The public health challenges highlighted here underscore the need for rapid detection, identification of the cause, and response when drinking water is contaminated by infectious pathogens, chemicals, or toxins to prevent and control waterborne illness and outbreaks.

Acknowledgments

State, territory, and local waterborne disease coordinators, epidemiologists, and environmental health personnel; Bryanna Cikesh, Allison Miller, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; Jessica Smith, Sooji Lee, Albert Barskey, Chris Edens, Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC

Conflict of Interest

No conflicts of interest were reported.


Corresponding author: Katharine Benedict, kbenedict@cdc.gov, 404-718-4388.

1Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC; 2Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC; 3Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC; 4U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


* Outbreak reports can be submitted by public health agencies in the U.S states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Drinking water, also called potable water, is water for human consumption (e.g., drinking, bathing, showering, hand-washing, teeth brushing, food preparation, dishwashing, and maintaining oral hygiene) and includes water collected, treated, stored, or distributed in public and individual water systems, as well as bottled water.

§ Waterborne disease outbreaks are assigned one or more deficiency classifications based on available data. The deficiencies provide information regarding how the water became contaminated, characteristics of the water system, and factors leading to waterborne disease outbreaks. Outbreaks are assigned one or more deficiency classifications based on available data. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/deficiency-classification.html.

Community and noncommunity water systems are public water systems that have ≥15 service connections or serve an average of ≥25 residents for ≥60 days per year. A community water system serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park. A noncommunity water system serves an institution, industry, camp, park, hotel, or business and can be nontransient or transient. Nontransient systems serve ≥25 of the same persons for ≥6 months of the year but not year-round (e.g., factories and schools) whereas transient systems provide water to places in which persons do not remain for long periods of time (e.g., restaurants, highway rest stations, and parks). Individual water systems are small systems not owned or operated by a water utility that have <15 connections or serve <25 persons.

** One of the 24 outbreaks included both deficiencies 5a and 7 under the “multiple” classification.

References

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Return to your place in the textTABLE 1. Waterborne disease outbreaks associated with drinking water (N = 42), by state/jurisdiction and month of first case onset — Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System, United States, 2013–2014
State/ Jurisdiction Month Year Etiology* Predominant illness No. of cases No. of hospitalizations§ No. of deaths Type of water system** Water source Setting
Alaska Aug 2014 Giardia duodenalis†† AGI 5 0 0 Community River/Stream Community/Municipality
Arizona Jan 2014 Norovirus (S) AGI 4 0 0 Transient, noncommunity Unknown Camp/Cabin Setting
Florida Sep 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 4 4 0 Community Well Hospital/Health care
Florida Nov 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 4 4 0 Community Other Other§§
Florida Apr 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community Well Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
Florida Jun 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 3 2 0 Community Unknown Long-term care facility
Florida Aug 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 6 4 0 Community Unknown Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
Idaho Sep 2014 Giardia duodenalis AGI 2 0 0 Unknown Unknown Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
Indiana Jul 2013 Cryptosporidium sp. AGI 7 0 0 Community Unknown Mobile home park
Indiana Nov 2014 Unknown AGI 3 0 0 Community Unknown Apartment/Condo
Kansas June 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community Unknown Hospital/Health care
Maryland Nov 2012 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2¶¶ 2¶¶ 0 Community Well Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
Maryland Feb 2013 Nitrite*** AGI, Neuro 14 0 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Indoor workplace/Office
Maryland Apr 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Apartment/Condo
Maryland Jul 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 1 0 Community Well Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
Maryland Aug 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community River/Stream Prison/Jail (Juvenile/Adult)
Michigan Jun 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 45 45 7 Community River/Stream Hospital/Health care, Community/Municipality†††
Montana Jul 2014 Norovirus
GII.Pe-GII.4 Sydney
AGI 62 0 0 Transient, noncommunity Well Hotel/Motel/Lodge/Inn
New York Jul 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Hospital/Health care
New York Jun 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Community Well Hospital/Health care
North Carolina Dec 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 3 2 0 Community Unknown Long-term care facility
North Carolina Dec 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 7 3 0 Community Unknown Long-term care facility
North Carolina May 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 7 6 1 Community Other Long-term care facility
North Carolina Jun 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 3 3 0 Community Unknown Long-term care facility
North Carolina Jul 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 3 2 1 Community Unreported Long-term care facility
Ohio Apr 2013 L. pneumophila ARI 2 2 1 Unknown Unknown Long-term care facility
Ohio§§§ Sep 2013 Cyanobacterial toxin¶¶¶ AGI 6 0 0 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Community/Municipality
Ohio Jul 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 14 4 0 Community River/Stream Long-term care facility
Ohio Aug 2014 Cyanobacterial toxin¶¶¶ AGI 110 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Community/Municipality
Ohio Oct 2014 Cryptosporidium sp. (S)**** AGI 100 0 0 Individual River/Stream Farm/Agricultural setting
Ohio Dec 2014 Viral, unknown (S) AGI 2 0 0 Commercially bottled Unknown Private residence
Oregon Jun 2013 Cryptosporidium parvum IIaA15G2R1 AGI 119 2 0 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Community/Municipality
Oregon Sep 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 4 4 1 Community Well Apartment/Condo
Pennsylvania Dec 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 0 Unknown Unknown Hospital/Health care
Pennsylvania Feb 2014 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 5 5 0 Community River/Stream Long-term care facility
Pennsylvania Oct 2014 L. pneumophila ARI 2 2 1 Community Unknown Long-term care facility
Rhode Island Apr 2013 L. pneumophila serogroup 1 ARI 2 2 1 Community Lake/Reservoir/ Impoundment Hospital/Health care
Tennessee Jul 2013 Cryptosporidium parvum AGI 34 0 0 Transient, noncommunity†††† Spring Camp/Cabin setting
Tennessee Jun 2014 Clostridium difficile (S); Escherichia coli, Enteropathogenic (S) AGI 12 0 0 Nontransient, noncommunity Well Camp/Cabin setting; Community/Municipality
Virginia Jun 2013 Cryptosporidium sp. AGI 19 0 0 Individual Well Farm/Agricultural setting
West Virginia Jan 2014 4-Methylcyclo
hexanemethanol (MCHM)§§§§
AGI 369 13 0 Community River/Stream Community/Municipality
Wisconsin Aug 2014 Giardia duodenalis AGI 3 0 0 Nontransient, noncommunity Other National forest
Wisconsin Sep 2014 Campylobacter jejuni AGI 5 0 0 Individual Well Private residence

Abbreviations: AGI = acute gastrointestinal illness; ARI = acute respiratory illness; L. pneumophila = Legionella pneumophila; Neuro = neurologic illnesses, conditions, or symptoms (e.g., meningitis); S = suspected.
* Etiologies listed are confirmed, unless indicated as suspected. For multiple-etiology outbreaks, etiologies are listed in alphabetical order.
The category of illness reported by ≥50% of ill respondents. All legionellosis outbreaks were categorized as ARI.
§ Value was set to “missing” in reports where zero hospitalizations were reported and the number of persons for whom information was available was also zero or for instances where reports are missing hospitalization data.
Value was set to “missing” in reports where zero deaths were reported and the number of persons for whom information was available was also zero or for instances where reports are missing data on associated deaths.
** Community and noncommunity water systems are public water systems that have ≥15 service connections or serve an average of ≥25 residents for ≥60 days per year. A community water system serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park. A noncommunity water system serves an institution, industry, camp, park, hotel, or business and can be nontransient or transient. Nontransient systems serve ≥25 of the same persons for ≥6 months of the year but not year-round (e.g., factories and schools) whereas transient systems provide water to places in which persons do not remain for long periods of time (e.g., restaurants, highway rest stations, and parks). Individual water systems are small systems not owned or operated by a water utility that have <15 connections or serve <25 persons.
†† Classification of all reported Giardia cases has changed from Giardia intestinalis to Giardia duodenalis to align with laboratory standards.
§§ Setting is listed as “other” because implicated facility houses both independent living and assisted living facilities.
¶¶ This count was not included in the analysis of the current report. This outbreak occurred in 2012 and was not reported in the previous drinking water outbreak report.
*** Patients’ methemoglobin levels ranged from 1.6% to 32.3%. Water was determined to be the source rather than food because all cases had direct exposure to water. Of the 14 cases, five used the water to make oatmeal or cream of wheat.
††† This report includes both community and hospital-associated cases (27 of 45 patients reported health care/hospital exposure).
§§§ This is the first drinking water–associated outbreak of this etiology reported to the National Outbreak Reporting System.
¶¶¶ Microcystin was detected in finished water sampled from a community water system; levels exceeded state thresholds and resulted in a “Do not drink” advisory.
**** Cryptosporidium was detected in water samples but not in any clinical specimens.
†††† This system was registered as a community system as a result of the outbreak investigation.
§§§§ Illnesses were associated with exposure to 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol following a documented industrial spill into water supplying a public water system. However, individual levels of exposure could not be quantified in clinical specimens. Propylene glycol phenyl ether was also present in the spill at low concentrations.

Return to your place in the textTABLE 2. Rank order (most common to least common) of etiology, water system, water source, predominant illness, and deficiencies associated with 42 drinking water outbreaks and 1,006 outbreak-related cases of illness — United States, 2013–2014
Characteristic/Rank Outbreaks (N = 42) Cases (N = 1,006)
Category No. (%) Category No. (%)
Etiology
1 Bacteria, Legionella 24 (57.1) Chemical/Toxin 499 (49.6)
2 Parasites 8 (19.1) Parasites 289 (28.7)
3 Chemical/Toxin 4 (9.5) Bacteria, Legionella 130 (12.9)
4 Viruses 3 (7.1) Viruses 68 (6.8)
5 Bacteria, non-Legionella 1 (2.4) Multiple bacteria 12 (1.2)
6 Multiple bacteria 1 (2.4) Bacteria, non-Legionella 5 (0.5)
7 Unknown 1 (2.4) Unknown 3 (0.3)
Water system*
1 Community 30 (71.4) Community 759 (75.4)
2 Noncommunity 5 (11.9) Individual 124 (12.3)
3 Individual 3 (7.1) Noncommunity 115 (11.4)
4 Unknown 3 (7.1) Unknown 6 (0.6)
5 Bottled 1 (2.4) Bottled 2 (0.2)
Water source
1 Ground water 14 (33.3) Surface water 795 (79.0)
2 Surface water 14 (33.3) Ground water 157 (15.6)
3 Unknown 12 (28.6) Unknown 39 (3.9)
4 Mixed 1 (2.4) Mixed 12 (1.2)
5 Unreported 1 (2.4) Unreported 3 (0.3)
Predominant illness§
1 ARI 24 (57.1) AGI 862 (85.7)
2 AGI 17 (40.5) ARI 130 (12.9)
3 AGI; Neuro 1 (2.4) AGI; Neuro 14 (1.4)
Deficiency
1 Legionella spp. in drinking water system** 23 (54.8) Treatment not expected to remove contaminant 485 (48.2)
2 Unknown/Insufficient information†† 7 (16.7) Unknown/Insufficient information 143 (14.2)
3 Multiple§§ 3 (7.1) Legionella spp. in drinking water system 126 (12.5)
4 Treatment not expected to remove contaminant¶¶ 3 (7.1) Treatment deficiency 119 (11.8)
5 Untreated ground water*** 3 (7.1) Untreated ground water 70 (7.0)
6 Distribution system††† 1 (2.4) Multiple 42 (4.2)
7 Premises plumbing system§§§ 1 (2.4) Premise plumbing system 14 (1.4)
8 Treatment deficiency¶¶¶ 1 (2.4) Distribution system 7 (0.7)

Abbreviations: AGI = acute gastrointestinal illness; ARI = acute respiratory illness; Neuro = neurologic illnesses, conditions, or symptoms (e.g., meningitis).
* Community and noncommunity water systems are public water systems that have ≥15 service connections or serve an average of ≥25 residents for ≥60 days per year. A community water system serves year-round residents of a community, subdivision, or mobile home park. A noncommunity water system serves an institution, industry, camp, park, hotel, or business and can be nontransient or transient. Nontransient systems serve ≥25 of the same persons for ≥6 months of the year but not year-round (e.g., factories and schools) whereas transient systems provide water to places in which persons do not remain for long periods of time (e.g., restaurants, highway rest stations, and parks). Individual water systems are small systems not owned or operated by a water utility that have <15 connections or serve <25 persons.
Includes outbreaks with mixed water sources (i.e., ground water and surface water).
§ The category of illness reported by ≥50% of ill respondents; all legionellosis outbreaks were categorized as ARI.
Outbreaks are assigned one or more deficiency classifications. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/deficiency-classification.html.
** Deficiency 5A. Drinking water, contamination of water at points not under the jurisdiction of a water utility or at the point of use: Legionella spp. in water system, drinking water.
†† Deficiency 99. Unknown/Insufficient information.
§§ Multiple deficiency classifications were assigned to three outbreaks. One outbreak had deficiency 2, 3 one had 3, 4, and one had 5a, 7 (deficiency in building/home-specific water treatment after the water meter or property line).
¶¶ Deficiency 13a. Current treatment processes not expected to remove a chemical contaminant: ground water.
*** Deficiency 2. Drinking water, contamination of water at/in the water source, treatment facility, or distribution system: untreated ground water.
††† Deficiency 4. Drinking water, contamination of water at/in the water source, treatment facility, or distribution system: Distribution system deficiency, including storage (e.g., cross-connection, backflow, and contamination of water mains during construction or repair).
§§§ Deficiency 6. Drinking water, contamination of water at points not under the jurisdiction of a water utility or at the point of use; plumbing system deficiency after the water meter or property line (e.g., cross-connection, backflow, or corrosion products).
¶¶¶ Deficiency 3. Treatment deficiency (e.g., temporary interruption of disinfection, chronically inadequate disinfection, or inadequate or no filtration).

Suggested citation for this article: Benedict KM, Reses H, Vigar M, et al. Surveillance for Waterborne Disease Outbreaks Associated with Drinking Water — United States, 2013–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:1216–1221. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6644a3.

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