Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia. Anybody can catch it, but it is more likely to affect those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immunosuppression or smoking etc. Most cases have been in people aged between 40 and 70. Legionella is a bacterium that can be found in water. It is rare that the conditions are right for the bacteria to infect humans however it is possible and that is why Water Hygiene is important to manage.
It is a requirement under legislation that organisations must carry out Legionella Risk Assessments in buildings with a communal area where there is a communal water supply.
The Trust completes Legionella Risk Assessments every 2 years in all buildings which the legislation covers.
Water Safety in your home
How do people get it?
Legionella bacteria does not appear to multiply below 20°C and will not survive above 60°C. The area of concern is stagnant water stored between 20°C and 40°C.
People may catch Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the bacteria. These small droplets can be produced by taps and shower systems.
It is very unlikely to contract Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water.
In domestic properties the risk of Legionnaires’ disease is generally rated as low risk.
Ways to prevent it
Legionella bacteria can be found in most water systems. The information below shows what you can do to help make sure bacteria remains at an acceptable level:
• If taps or showers in a property are not used for one week or more, each tap and shower should be run or flushed for two minutes.
• If your property is empty for long periods of time i.e. over two weeks. This may be due to a long hospital admission, extended holiday periods or any other reason then the hot and cold taps and shower should be flushed and showerhead cleaned and disinfected.
• Showerheads should be descaled and disinfected on a regular basis (every three months).