What is Legionella?
Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody but more likely affects those you are susceptiable because of age, illness, immunosuppression, smoking etc.
It is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila
On average there are approximatly 300 - 350 reported cases of Legionnaires' Disease in the United Kingdom every year.
Clusters of cases also occur and outbreaks have been associated with cooling tower systems and hot and cold water systems in factories, hotels, hospitals and other establishments.
How Does it Affect Us?
Legionella bacteria can cause both bacterial infections and allergic reactions in people.
The bacterial infection causes the person to display pneumonia-type symptoms.
The allergic reaction to Legionella can cause the person to suffer Pontiac fever.
Pontiac fever has no recorded mortality rate and will disappear after a few days.
The symptoms most commonly found in people infected with Legionella Pneumophila are: flu - like signs with headaches, followed by fever, chills and a consolidating pneumonia, chest and abdominal pains vomiting, diarrhoea and mental confusion.
Legionella Pneumophila has a recorded 395 cases a year in the UK with a mortality rate of 12%.
How Can It Be Controlled? It can be controlled by ensuring a control scheme is in place. This should include:-
Minimizing water stagnation, by ensuring weekly flushing of infrequently used taps and showers.
Adjusting water temperatures to be below 20ºC in cold water services and above 50ºC in hot water systems
Eliminating scale, sediment and biofilm from shower heads and spray taps.
Documenting and recording all preventive measures so that it is evident responsible actions are being taken.
The risk of legionella developing in a water system can be assessed through one of our Risk Assessment packages. The assessment may identify the need for thorough sterilisation and cleaning, and the implementation of a Control Scheme.