Legionnaires Disease - The condition known as Legionnaires disease was named after an outbreak of a severe pneumonia like disease that occurred at the Belle Vue Stratford Hotel, Philadelphia, USA in 1976, where there was a convention of the American Legion.
Legionella pneumophila, the causative organism for most cases of Legionnaires’ disease, was thought to have been present in the hotel’s cooling towers. Somehow, water droplets in the form of an aerosol contaminated the hotel’s air conditioning systems allowing the bacteria to come into contact with the convention guests, a highly susceptible population.
Proliferation of the bacteria typically occurs between 20°C – 45°C and is assisted by the presence of suitable nutrients present in Dirt, Sludge and Scale as well as conditions of poor water flow, stagnation or where dead legs occur in water systems.
Employers are required to control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria in accordance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. This is achieved by following the Approved Code of Practice L8 The Control of Legionella (Bacteria in Water Systems).
In general these require the employer to conduct the following:
- Identification & assessment of the risk;
- Prevention or minimisation of risk from exposure to Legionella;
- Systems for the management and selection, training and competence of personnel;
- Record keeping of maintenance, cleaning and disinfection.
What are the symptoms? The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to the symptoms of the flu:
- High temperature, feverishness and chills;
- Muscle pains;
- Headache; and leading on to:
- Pneumonia, very occasionally
- Diarrhoea and signs of mental confusion.
Elan Environmental Ltd can provide the following Legionella consultancy services:
- Legionella Risk Assessments;
- Legionella Monitoring/Management Plans;
- Legionella Training;
- Schematic drawings of water systems.