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Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia that can be life-threatening in many cases. Caused by Legionella bacteria, which can multiply in water systems such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and plumbing systems, the disease is often transmitted through the inhalation of contaminated water droplets. Proper maintenance and monitoring of water systems, including regular legionella risk assessments, can help prevent its spread.

Understanding The Risks Of Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionnaire’s disease is a type of pneumonia, which is a serious lung infection. The disease can lead to symptoms such as high fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headaches, making it a potentially life-threatening condition. Due to its seriousness, people who are diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease often need to go to hospital where antibiotics may be given directly into a vein. They may also need a machine to help them breathe more easily.

Whilst most people make a full recovery from Legionnaire’s disease, around 10% of cases can be fatal. Moreover, the mortality rate can be far higher for elderly individuals or those with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems.

The Most Common Sources Of Legionella Transmission

Legionnaire’s disease is usually through the inhalation of water droplets which are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. The bacteria thrive and multiply in water systems such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and plumbing systems.

  • Cooling Towers. Commonly used in commercial and industrial settings to remove excess heat, these systems can release contaminated water droplets into the air. Transmission occurs when individuals inhale these water droplets.
  • Hot Tubs. If hot tubs aren’t properly maintained, the water within them can become a breeding ground for Legionella bacteria. This raises the risk of Legionnaire’s disease transmission.
  • Plumbing systems. Legionella bacteria can reproduce rapidly in plumbing systems, particularly those within large buildings such as hotels and hospitals. Warm and stagnant sections of plumbing systems are most at risk of Legionella growth.

The Importance Of Legionella Risk Assessments

If Legionella bacteria is allowed to grow, it can pose serious health risks to individuals who are exposed to contaminated water droplets. With this in mind, Legionella risk assessments should be carried out to identify potential sources of Legionella contamination. A Legionella risk assessment examines factors such as water temperature, stagnation, and the presence of biofilm, helping to pinpoint possible Legionella breeding grounds within a water system. Risk assessments can be carried out in various settings, ranging from residential properties to commercial buildings and industrial facilities.

Legionnaire’s disease can be fatal, particularly in elderly individuals or those with health conditions or weakened immune systems. A Legionella risk assessment can help to prevent transmission by identifying sources of Legionella contamination in water systems. Call 0800 243 471 or email to find out more.

Post Author: Katty Watson