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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Legionnaires' Disease Facts

Legionnaires' disease sounds frightening, and it definitely is something to be concerned about, but knowing the facts will help you to determine the risk involved. Hiring professionals to carry out an in-depth risk assessment is also something that will enable you to ensure your workplace is a safe one.

legionnaires' disease
Your building needs to be protected from legionnaires' disease

Knowing something about legionella bacteria and legionnaires' disease could be extremely helpful in your ability to contain and combat it. Here are some facts that you may not have known:

1. The first death attributed to legionnaires' disease was recorded on 27th July 1976. Ray Brennan contracted the disease and died after attending the American Legion convention (hence the name of the disease) in Philadelphia, USA.

2. The origin of the first case of legionnaires' disease was linked back to the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, where many of the legionnaires had been staying for the convention. In all, 18 deaths followed the initial outbreak.

3. Legionnaires' disease is fatal in approximately 10 percent of cases. Most of those who die are elderly, very young, or have a compromised immune system. However, although these are the people who are most at risk, legionnaires' disease can affect anyone.

4. Legionnaires' disease can only be contracted by breathing in droplets of infected water, most often through an aerosol or spray such as a shower or air conditioning unit. You cannot catch it from contact with an infected person.

5. Legionella bacteria - the bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease - is actually found naturally in open water such as streams and lakes. However, it only becomes an issue when found in buildings.

legionnaires' disease
Legionella bacteria can be found in natural water sources

6. Although it is something to be aware of, and something that you should have procedures in place to deal with, the disease is relatively rare - and we hope to keep it that way. This is due to the UK's stringent guidelines and strict health and safety rules regarding the disease and the bacteria that causes it. In 2018, 814 people contracted legionnaires' disease in the UK.

7. Legionnaires' disease is treatable, and the treatment is antibiotics.

8. Legionnaires' disease will not go unreported. If a doctor makes a diagnosis of legionnaires' disease, they are legally obliged to notify their local authority due to The Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. When this happens, an investigation must follow.

9. There is often some confusion between Pontiac fever and legionnaire's disease. The truth is that they are both forms of the same contagion, but Pontiac fever is a milder form.

10. Legionnaires' disease presents with flu-like symptoms; headaches, muscle aches, and a fever are all symptoms. Breathing difficulties can also follow.

To ensure the buildings and spaces you are responsible for are safe and fall inline with legislation, don't hesitate to get in touch with Assured Water. We can risk assess your property and help you create a detailed contingency plan to cope with legionella bacteria.

Please call 0208 432 3388 or email for more information.

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