What Is The Most Common Way To Contract Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionella bacteria is commonly found in natural water sources. Areas such as lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and rivers will often – assuming anyone tested the water – be found to contain it. The important thing to note about this, however, before you start to worry that you should no longer go anywhere near such water sources is that the conditions in this kind of water are not ideal for legionella, and therefore although it might be there, it is unlikely to be able to survive for long, and it won’t necessarily be able to breed. It is highly uncommon for anyone to contract legionnaires’ disease from a source such as this.
So where does it come from, and how can people contract it?
The most common place for people to contract legionnaires’ disease from is manmade, purpose-built water systems including cooling towers, spa pools, and hot and cold water systems within buildings. In the right conditions, which include temperatures of between 20oC and 50oC, legionella bacteria can proliferate and multiply and cause problems for those who are more at risk. And of course, even those who might not necessarily be considered to be at risk of contracting legionnaires’ disease can still catch it, although this is rarer.
This is why it is so important to have a legionella control plan in place.
The older someone is, the more chance they will have of contracting legionnaires’ disease; their lungs are just not strong enough to fight the bacteria. But there are other people who are more at risk, even if they seem to be generally healthy. These include:
• Heavy drinkers
• Those suffering from kidney disease
• Those suffering from lung disease
• Those suffering from heart disease
• Those suffering from a chronic respiratory disease
• Anyone with an impaired immune system
• The elderly
• The very young
The good news is that legionnaires’ disease is relatively rare, with up to 500 cases in the UK each year. Almost half of those cases were contracted abroad.
How Is Legionella Spread?
The most common way for anyone to contract legionella bacteria is to inhale it in the form of water droplets. These aerosols will be found in showers, taps, spas, whirlpools, hot tubs, general household plumbing, air conditioning systems, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, ice machines, and humidifiers amongst other places.
It is important to remember that you cannot catch legionnaires’ disease from person to person contact.
If you are unsure about any aspect of legionella bacteria, legionnaires’ disease, or legionella control, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the experts at Assured Water.