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Further Information

Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon form of pneumonia caused by the legionella bacterium. The majority of cases are reported as single (isolated) cases but outbreaks can occur. All ages can be affected but the disease mainly affects people over 50 years of age, and generally men more than women. Smokers and the immunocompromised are at a higher risk.

Legionnaires’ Disease Symptoms

The early symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include a ‘flu-like’ illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever. Sometimes diarrhoea occurs and confusion may develop. Deaths occur in 10-15% of the general population and may be higher in some groups of patients. The incubation period can range from 2 to 19 days with a median of 6 to 7 days after exposure.

How do I catch it?

People become infected when they inhale legionella bacteria which have been released into the air in small water droplet form from a contaminated source. Once in the lungs the bacteria multiply and cause either pneumonia or a less serious flu like illness (Pontiac fever).

Legionella Bacteria

The bacteria are widely distributed in the environment. They can live in most types of water including both natural sources such as rivers and streams, and artificial water sources such as water towers associated with cooling systems, hot and cold water systems and spa pools. They only become a risk to health when the temperature allows the legionellae to grow rapidly, such as in water systems which are not properly designed, installed and/or maintained.

Control and prevention of the disease is through treatment of the source of the infection, i.e. by treating the contaminated water systems, and good design and maintenance to prevent growth in the first place.

Chlorination / BS8558

The cleanliness of all water systems is identified within L8 & HSG 274,  [The approved code of practice], to be of paramount importance in maintaining water hygiene. Regular monitoring of cold water storage tanks, calorifiers and their associated hot & cold water systems is required to identify build up of scale, sediment, biofilms and corrosion all of which develop naturally and progressively over time with water systems.

The most effective way of combating the natural deterioration of system water hygiene is to undertake regular inspections and bacterial sampling, this may indicate if there is a need to undertake additional action such as clean and disinfections.

Disinfections are frequently undertaken to conform with the requirements of BS8558 which is normally associated with newly installed systems or HSG 274 which specifies disinfection options for existing and new systems.

The introduction of new WRC approved drinking water products, new techniques and state of the art equipment have made our disinfections more effective, non intrusive, utilise less water and is significantly better than traditional chlorine for the environment.