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Legionella Management

From small sheltered housing schemes to large Industrial facilities, GES Water offer solutions compliant with current legislation.

What is Legionnaires' Disease?

Legionella is a bacteria that grows in the environment and engineered water systems. It was first identified following an outbreak of severe pneumonia that affected a meeting of the American Legion in 1976. Legionnaires’ disease is usually contracted by inhaling the legionella bacteria in aerosol water droplets.

Legionnaires’ disease is a relatively rare form of pneumonia but is fatal in approximately 12% of the 300-350 cases reported in the UK every year since the start of the century. It is actually one of a group of similar diseases collectively known as legionellosis. The other forms, eg Pontiac Fever and Lochgoilhead Fever, have similar symptoms but are not as serious as Legionnaires' disease.

Certain groups of individuals are more susceptible to contracting and dying of Legionnaires’ disease, for example men and those over 45 years old, but smokers, alcoholics, diabetics and those with cancer or chronic respiratory or kidney disease are also more susceptible.

Legionella bacteria appear to grow best in water between 20 – 45°C. For this reason it is important that systems which have the potential to grow legionella are closely monitored and treated. Unfortunately these systems are extremely common and present in most companies.

Legionnaires' Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but which principally affects those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immunosuppression, smoking etc. About half the cases of Legionnaires' disease are caught abroad.

It is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria that can be found naturally in environmental water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, usually in low numbers. As they are commonly found in environmental sources they may also be found in purpose built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpool spas.