Watch out for Legionella bacteria!

Legionella bacteria can cause many diseases, some more serious than the others, they include Legionnaires’ disease which is a serious disease, the less serious are Pontiac fever and lochgoilhead fever, the term used to describe those diseases is Legionellosis. Everyone could be infected by Legionnaires’ disease which is a fatal form of pneumonia, however the most venerable people to the infection are those of age +45, heavy smokers and drinkers, those that suffer from diabetes, lung and heart diseases, chronic respiratory or kidney disease or anyone with impaired immune system. If you’re one of them then you should really watch out for any type of Legionellosis.

Natural water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs are common sources of the bacterium Legionella pneumophila however, they are in small numbers. They also inhabit artificial water systems such as cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, evaporative condensers and spa pools.

This bacterium could potentially grow and greatly increase the risks of Legionnaires’ disease, if the conditions are right. Otherwise it will remain in small numbers if the appropriate measures are taken to control it.

Legionella bacteria is natural in natural water systems such as lakes and rivers however, the conditions it is at are not favourable and therefore the risks of people getting it from those sources are rare. On the other hand, in artificial water systems, where the temperature is high enough to encourage the growth of the bacteria, outbreaks of the illness could occur. Those water systems include cooling towers, spa pools, hot and cold water systems, evaporative condensers, etc.

 People get infected by legionnaires’ disease by inhaling water vapour that contains the bacteria. The conditions favourable by the bacteria and that will increase the risks of getting Legionellosis include the water system has temperatures between 20-45 °C which encourages the growth, when water vapour or small droplets of water are created by cooling towers or water outlets, the water is being stored and/or re-circulated and lastly, the deposits of nutrients for the growth of the bacteria into the system, such as rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms. Most of the Legionnaires’ diseases are caused by infections within UK however, some of them could also occur abroad.

The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include high temperatures, feverishness chills, cough, muscle pains, diarrhoea, headache occasionally leading to pneumonia, and lastly signs of mental confusion, those symptoms are very similar to flu. Legionnaires’ disease is not known to spread between people. You can treat this illness by using antibiotics called erythromycin or a similar antibiotic.

If you have some of those symptoms and you worry that you could have got Legionnaires’ disease then you should go and see your general practitioner. As this disease is extremely similar to flu, it is hard to diagnose, and so blood or urine tests could be really helpful in diagnosing it, on top of that if the community is known to have this disease by the doctor then it will be easier for them to diagnose it and treat it early. If you believe that you caught this disease at work then it is a legal requirement that you notify and report this to your manager as well as to your health and safety representative and the health department is you have one. It is a legal requirement that you report the cases of Legionnaires’ disease that could be caught at their work place, you should report this to the Health and Safety Executive. Also as a landlord, you must ensure that your property is safe for your tenants so you must make sure that the water systems within your property do not contain the conditions for the development of Legionella bacteria.

Romford Emergency Plumber does disinfection of water systems and dose have a qualified personel to carry out those services. Call us now and don’ fall a victim to Legionella.