Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause a severe form of pneumonia. This form of pneumonia is known as Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria was first identified in 1976 when an outbreak of pneumonia occurred among people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
Legionella bacteria is commonly found in freshwater environments, such as lakes and rivers. It can also be found in man-made water systems such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and water tanks. The bacteria can multiply in warm water environments and can be transmitted to people through inhalation of contaminated water droplets.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease typically includes fever, chills, cough, and muscle aches, which can progress to severe pneumonia. The disease can be fatal in some cases, particularly among people who have underlying health conditions.
There are several risk factors that can cause the formation of this bacteria in water systems. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Stagnant water: Legionella bacteria thrive in warm, stagnant water. Water systems that are not frequently used can become ideal conditions for bacterial growth.
- Water temperature: Legionella bacteria grow best in water temperatures between 20°C and 50°C. Water systems that are operated at these temperatures can create favorable conditions for bacterial growth.
- Sediment and biofilm build-up: Legionella bacteria can attach themselves to sediment and biofilm build-up in water systems, allowing them to grow and spread more easily.
- Poorly designed or maintained water systems: Water systems that are not properly designed, installed, or maintained can create conditions conducive to the growth of Legionella bacteria.
- Contaminated water sources: Legionella bacteria can enter water systems through contaminated water sources, such as lakes and rivers, and can spread rapidly if not properly treated.
- Lack of water treatment: Water systems that are not properly treated with disinfectants or other water treatment chemicals can allow for bacterial growth.
We regularly carry out Legionella Risk Assessments for businesses throughout Ireland.
The Legionella Risk Assessment includes such specific items as follows:
- Identifying and assessing likely sources of risk
- Recommending schemes to help control the risk
- Suggesting a suitable routine monitoring program
- Clarifying lines of responsibility
- Identifying training deficiencies
- Providing recommendations
If you would like to arrange a Legionella Risk Assessment for your workplace, get in touch here.