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  • Lisamarie Lamb

What You Need To Know About Legionella

Did you know that there are between 300 and 500 cases of legionnaires' disease reported in England and Wales each year? And did you know that somewhere around 10 percent of these cases are fatal? So that's between 30 and 50 people dying of legionnaires' disease every single year. You can see why this is something serious that you are going to need to deal with.

But not many people know much about legionella and legionnaires' disease, and that means it can be even more difficult to take control of. So here are four points to take into account when you are considering why legionella is such an important thing to think about.

1. What Is Legionella?

­Legionellosis (or legionnaires' disease) is brought on by legionella bacteria. The symptoms resemble pneumonia, including a high temperature, fever, coughs and chills. Legionella is contracted by inhaling droplets of water which contain legionella bacteria. Many instances of legionnaires' disease happen in hospitals, offices and hotels. It can even be found in homes, although this is much rarer.

2. It Could Spread Though Bathrooms

­Legionnaire's disease is often spread through household water fittings, taps, showers, air conditioning systems, spa pools, and so on. It is able to affect both hot and cold water systems as the baceria develops in temperatures between 20 and 45°C. The bacteria is a lot more likely to grow in water that is stagnant. Make sure you check out the water systems if it hasn't been used for a long time.

3. Smokers and The Elderly Are Most At Risk

­Although anyone could really be affected by legionnaire's disease, a few tend to be more susceptible compared to others. Individuals who smoke and drink a lot, those older than forty-five, and anyone with previous health conditions (such as lung diseases) are at greater risk.­

4. It Is Your Duty To Prevent Legionella

As per Section 3(2) of the Safety and Health at Work Act 1974, residential property management companies, landlords and building managers all have a duty of care to keep their buildings free of legionella (wherever possible). To do this, they will need to:

a) Prevent the chance of the bacteria forming by cleaning the water systems as needed, making sure debris doesn't contaminate cold water tanks. Ensure pipes are flushed through if the building has been empty or unused for some time.

b) Regularly carry out legionella risk assessments so that you know where the weak spots are in your building and can continue to check on them. Once you know where the problem areas are, you can work on reducing or eliminating the issues entirely.

c) Consult a professional legionella consultant if you need any expert advice - don't try to carry out any of the work yourself if you don't know how to; it is worth doing it properly, or not at all.

For more help, please get in touch with Assured Water - we can help you with plenty of advice and practical help.

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