Legionella Conference 2019 Keynote Speaker Announced

NEHA News Release


Release Date: 
July 9, 2019

CDC’s Dr. Pat Breysse to Deliver Keynote Address at Legionella Conference 2019

NSF International & NEHA

Pat Breysse, Ph.D. will deliver the Keynote Address at the Legionella Conference 2019.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (July 9, 2019) – Pat Breysse, PhD, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, will deliver the keynote address at Legionella Conference 2019, to be held September 11–13 in Los Angeles.

Dr. Breysse, who leads CDC’s efforts to investigate the relationship between environmental factors and health, will open the conference on September11. Hosted by NSF International and the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), Legionella Conference 2019: Building Water Systems The Sustainability & Public Health Nexus will explore complex water systems, cooling towers, proactive water quality monitoring and related public health topics.

“Dr. Breysse is a recognized national leader moving the nation toward a model for managing Legionella risks. His commitment to improved prevention and response strategies at CDC is critical to reversing the rising trend of Legionnaires’ disease,” says Kevan Lawlor, President and CEO of NSF International.

“Dr. Pat Breysse’s participation reflects the CDC’s high level of concern for legionellosis as a preventable illness. His leadership and his agency’s technical support are essential to the health of the nation,” said Dr. Dave Dyjack, Executive Director of NEHA.

Dr. Breysse will talk about Legionella and building water systems. The U.S. is now in a fight against infection, and he will highlight innovative strategies and projects that CDC and projects that CDC and partners are working on to combat it.

“Legionnaires’ disease can be prevented with effective water management programs. Improving uptake of these programs will require multidisciplinary public health input at the federal, state and local levels. This conference brings together public health, industry and academic professionals to discuss prevention approaches,” said Dr. Breysse.

Dr. Breysse joined the CDC in 2014 as Director of the National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In 2016, the CDC published a Legionella toolkit, “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth & Spread in Buildings.” Under Dr. Breysse’s leadership, the CDC has prioritized work on exposure to lead and safe drinking water and has initiated new actions to address exposure to hazardous chemicals, in particular per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS). He has also played a critical role in the CDC’s emergency preparedness and response to natural disasters and chemical exposures.

He previously conducted research for Johns Hopkins University, where his work focused on the evaluation and control of chemical, biological and physical factors that can affect health, with a concentration on risk and exposure assessment.

Dr. Breysse earned his PhD in environmental health engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1985 and completed postdoctoral training at the British Institute for Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is also a board-certified Industrial Hygienist.

At the conference, international experts from government agencies, universities, hospitals and private laboratories in 11 countries will come together to explore the relationship between water conservation and microbial contamination prevention in building water systems.

In large, complex human-made water systems that are not adequately managed, Legionella bacteria can multiply to quantities large enough to cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious and sometimes fatal pneumonia that has increased more than five-fold between 2000 and 2018, according to the CDC. To cause disease, Legionella must be aerosolized via some device—like a showerhead, a cooling tower (a structure with fans and water located outside of buildings that is part of the centralized air-cooling systems), a hot tub or a decorative fountain—and transmitted to a susceptible host. Interestingly, water conservation efforts can sometimes have the unintended consequence of amplifying Legionella bacterial growth, which is why finding the optimal conditions to minimize bacterial regrowth is key. Fortunately, effective water management programs in buildings at increased risk for Legionella growth and transmission can reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

Technical pre-conference workshops will focus on public health officials’ responses to Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, case studies and new technology reviews.

The conference will be held at the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure. Visit Legionella Conference 2019 for a full list of speakers, topics and other details. Register today!

For media interviews, please contact Thomas Frey, APR, at +1.734.214.6242 or media@nsf.org

About NSF International

NSF International is celebrating 75 years of protecting and improving human health. The global public health organization facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

About the National Environmental Health Association

The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) is a professional society with more than 6,500 members in the public and private sectors as well as in universities and uniformed services. NEHA's mission, "To advance the environmental health professional for the purpose of providing a healthful environment for all" is fulfilled in the products and services offered by NEHA to advance the environmental health professional through credentialing, training, education, networking, professional development, and policy involvement opportunities. Learn more about NEHA at www.neha.org.