The North Carolina Public Health Communicable Disease Section awarded the 2017 Surveillance and Investigation Award to Guilford County Public Health for their response to an increase in Legionella cases reported in Guilford County.

Investigations began in August of 2016 after several cases of Legionella were reported to Guilford County Public Health. Legionella bacteria live in a contaminated water environment and can be transmitted when water particles are breathed (aspirated) or comes in contact with skin wounds. Legionella bacteria commonly causes pneumonia, which can lead to serious complications in some vulnerable populations. Investigations were led by Guilford County’s Epi-Team (which includes community partners as well as Communicable Disease and Environmental Health staff).

The source of the increased Legionella cases was identified and improvement measures engaged.

Merle Green, Guilford County Health Director presented this award to Tammy Koonce, Communicable Disease Nurse Consultant and Carolyn Chaffin, Communicable Disease Nurse Supervisor during the April 20, 2017 Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.

Guilford County Public Health wishes to congratulate our staff on this award and thank all of the various community partners for their significant and invaluable help with this disease investigation and response.