Your Questions About Legionella Answered
Many people don’t know much about Legionella or if they do, they have a lot of questions! So, to help give you all the information you need, we thought we’d help by answering your questions about Legionella.
What is Legionella?
Legionella is a type of bacteria. It’s something most people don’t know a lot about, but it is simply a type of bacteria associated with water systems. Legionella bacteria can become airborne in water spray, mist or vapour. When legionella is airborne it can easily be inhaled by people with the potential to cause pneumonia-like illnesses.
However, legionella is a disease that cannot be passed from one person to another.
Although the risk of legionella outbreaks are rare, you can completely dispel the risk by putting safe guards in place in your home or work environment.
Where Did Legionella Get Its Name?
Legionnaire’s disease received its name after an outbreak in 1976 when multiple people became ill at an American Legion with pneumonia.
Where is Legionella Found?
The legionella bacteria is commonly found in rivers, ponds and lakes. However, because the numbers of bacteria are so low they are generally considered to be harmless.
The Risk of Legionella is Higher When…
If legionella bacteria finds its way into air conditioning systems, saps or condensers, they can multiply rapidly. This makes the risk of legionella disease higher for buildings such as hotels, hospitals and commercial working environments.
Who’s Most at Risk of Catching the Disease?
Although all of us are at risk of catching an infection, those more at risk are aged over 50, smoke heavily or suffer from an underlying medical condition or weakened immune system.
What Happens if You’re Diagnosed with Legionella Disease
If you are diagnosed with a legionella infection, your doctor has an obligation to inform the local health authority so that your case can be traced back to a possible outbreak.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease
Signs of legionnaires’ disease can take up to a week to start showing any signs. Common signs of legionella disease are headaches, fevers, muscles pains, coughing, chills, and shortness of breath. If you have any of these symptoms, you must consult your doctor immediately.
Where Does Legionella Come From?
Legionella comes from natural water systems where the water is constantly kept at a high temperature – high enough to encourage bacterial growth.
Identify the Hazards
If you want to ensure you’re not at risk of contracting Legionella, it is imperative you know how to identify the hazards. Hazards are a potential source of risk and identifying them early allows you to ensure no one is at risk of harm. To identify the hazards linked to legionella, you need to identify the following:
- Whether water is stored or recirculated regularly.
- The water temperature is between 20-45 °C.
- Conditions would encourage bacteria to multiply.
- There are sources of nutrients such as rust, sludge, scale and organic matters.
Once you have identified the hazards, you need to know who will be most at risk so that you can then identify the most effective course of action. In any location where legionella is discovered, there are a number of people who are more vulnerable than others, such as those with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
Find Out More About Legionella
If you would like to find out more about legionella and the risks to you and those you care about or care for, take our Legionella Risk Assessment.
We are proud to serve customers throughout the City of London who are concerned they may have a problem with Legionella. We help customers wanting to reduce their risk of contracting the disease, those who want to get rid of it completely, and those needing to put safety precautions in place. Our Legionella control service is specifically designed to keep Legionella problems under control and help prevent the spreading of this disease.