Legionella pneumophila as a health hazard to miners: A pilot study of water quality and QMRA

Valerie Madera-García, Alexis L. Mraz, Nicolás López-Gálvez, Mark H. Weir, James Werner, Paloma I. Beamer, Marc P. Verhougstraete

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Legionella pneumophila (L. pneumophila), the causative agent of legionellosis, is an aquatic bacterium that grows in warm water. Humans are only presented with a health risk when aerosolized water containing L. pneumophila is inhaled. In mining operations, aerosolized water is used as dust control and as part of the drilling operations, a currently ignored exposure route. This study characterized L. pneumophila concentrations in the mine's non-potable water and the relationship between L. pneumophila and chlorine concentrations. These concentrations informed a quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) model to estimate the infection risk to miners exposed to aerosolized water containing L. pneumophila. Fourteen water samples were collected from seven locations at a mine and analyzed for temperature, pH, chlorine, and L. pneumophila serogroup. Most samples (93%) tested positive for L. pneumophila cells. The faucet from the sprinkler system on the adit level (entrance to the underground mine levels) showed the highest concentration of L. pneumophila (8.35 × 104 MPN/L). Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) were estimated in the QMRA model and showed that the risk for all miners was significantly lower (p < 0.0001) with the ventilation system on than when the system was off. Our study showed that the use of a ventilation system at the adit level of the mine reduced the risk of infection with aerosolized L. pneumophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1528
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Legionella pneumophila
microbiological risk assessment
quantitative risk assessment
Health hazards
miner
Miners
health hazards
Water Quality
Risk assessment
risk assessment
Water quality
water quality
water
Water
Health
health
ventilation
chlorine
Chlorine
Ventilation

Keywords

  • Air quality ventilation
  • DALYs (disability adjusted life years)
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Mining safety
  • QMRA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Legionella pneumophila as a health hazard to miners : A pilot study of water quality and QMRA. / Madera-García, Valerie; Mraz, Alexis L.; López-Gálvez, Nicolás; Weir, Mark H.; Werner, James; Beamer, Paloma I.; Verhougstraete, Marc P.

In: Water (Switzerland), Vol. 11, No. 8, 1528, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Madera-García, Valerie ; Mraz, Alexis L. ; López-Gálvez, Nicolás ; Weir, Mark H. ; Werner, James ; Beamer, Paloma I. ; Verhougstraete, Marc P. / Legionella pneumophila as a health hazard to miners : A pilot study of water quality and QMRA. In: Water (Switzerland). 2019 ; Vol. 11, No. 8.
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