Legionella Water Testing & Legionnaires’ Disease
Legionella bacteria can be found in natural environments including ponds, rivers and lakes. Legionnaires’ disease growth and the bacteria can also be found in small amounts within the mains of a water supply. Where there is water and the conditions of creating contaminated water droplets (aerosols), people using or within the area of these services may be at risk. It is this bacteria found in the water supply which is the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia, which can be fatal. The most at risk are the very old and the very young, the ill and smokers to name a few. Legionella bacteria can also cause other, less harmful illnesses such as Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever, which can affect all people. The main route of infection is through inhalation, by inhaling airborne water droplets that contain Legionella. It cannot be spread from person to person. The majority of cases or outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have been via domestic water services, evaporative cooling towers, and spa pools.
Conditions and contributing factors to Legionnaires’ disease growth include:
- Temperatures between 20-45°C
- Available nutrients (including sediment, biofilm, algae, scale, rust, material, etc.)
- Presence of biofilm on surfaces of water
- Poor or inadequate management including training and awareness