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Sebastián Crespí, PharmD

President and Scientific Director, Biolinea International

Sebastián Crespí Dr. Sebastián Crespi is a specialist consultant in laboratory medicine and the Public Health Advisor for the Spanish Hotel Confederation of Hotels and Accommodation Establishments. He has authored numerous publications on water hygiene and infectious diseases in tourist settings, including Legionella and Legionellosis: Basic Prevention and Control Measures in Hotel Establishments. He co-authored European Technical Guidelines for the Prevention, Control and Investigation of Infections Caused by Legionella Species and was lead author of the Water Safety Management and Legionnaires Disease sections in the Tourism Accommodation Health & Safety Technical Guideline. He served as a WHO consultant in preparing the interim guidance Operational Considerations for COVID-19 Management in the Accommodation Sector, the document Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality and the book Legionella and the Prevention of Legionellosis. He was an expert consultant for the European Commission’s TAIEX project and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health.

Managing Water Systems in Hotels Used as Public Health Resources During the Pandemic: Business As Usual?

Abstract: Within the framework of the state of emergencies enacted in many countries to handle the health crisis derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of hotels around the world were declared essential services for accommodation or were re-opened as hospitals for COVID-19 patients or other public health purposes (e.g. quarantine facilities). Because of the temporary shutdown or reduced operation, the water systems of these premises could pose a potential hazard for both users and staff. On the other hand, the population admitted to the medicalized facilities, by its very nature, is more susceptible to Legionella infections and other opportunistic infections than the general population.

Different public health agencies and professional organizations produced guidance for managing the water systems of such sites that was mainly aimed at preventing the risk of waterborne infections. Some guides also considered potential chemical risks (e.g. lead and copper) that may be generated particularly under prolonged water stagnancy. However, limited data is available on how these measures were actually implemented and, even less, on their effectiveness.

In this presentation we review the guidelines and regulations that have been published and discuss the effectiveness of these measures in the light of the available data, including case studies.