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What is Legionnaires’ Disease
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. It’s caused by a bacterium known as Legionella.
Most people catch Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling the bacteria from water or soil. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease.
The legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu. Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal.
What is Legionella?
The bacterium Legionella pneumonia (Legionella) is responsible for most cases of Legionnaires’ disease. Outdoors, legionella bacteria survive in soil and water but rarely causes infections. Legionella bacteria is more prevalent in artificial water systems, including domestic showers systems, garden water systems including hose pipes, internal water pipes, water tanks, air conditioning systems etc. Which means it could be present in any property.
Legionella’s ideal conditions for breeding and multiplying are as follows:
> Water Temperature, i.e. cold water above 20 degrees and hot water below 50 degrees
> Water droplets produced and dispersed, i.e. through showers, spray connections, hot tubs, hose sprinkler systems
> Water stored before recirculation is often referred to as stagnant water, i.e. in a system that isn’t used for a while, typically two or more weeks.
> A stagnant environment for the bacteria to feed on, i.e. slime, rust, sludge, etc.