What is Legionella?
Legionella pneumophila is a bacteria found naturally in a number of water sources such as rivers, lakes, wells, and other fresh water systems. The bacteria acts as a parasite, where it can hide inside of amoeba and protozoans commonly found inside the biofilm layer that builds up in a building's potable and non-potable water system. The amplification, release, and aerosolization of Legionella can become a health threat to human life in the form of mild pneumonia, known as Pontiac Fever, or the more lethal form known as Legionaires' Disease.
SYMPTOMS & Concerns
While Legionnaires' Disease brings on symptoms that are non-specific, typically one who may be carrying the disease experiences high fevers, malaise, chills, diarrhea, coughs, and respiratory distress, among other ailments. The symptoms are often seen 2 to 10 days following incubation of the bacteria inside the body and they often persist for weeks. If left untreated, Legionnaires' Disease can be fatal, with numbers around 35% of infected patients dying due to complications. If any flu-like or serious cold-like symptoms are bothering you, please contact a physician or see your nearest emergency room.
Sources and Locations of growth
Bacteria can grow in virtually any water source, treated or untreated, and pose a threat to people in a variety of environments. Locations of most concern to human health are water systems in hospitals, hotels, commercial and residential units, and other publicly occupied spaces where a number of people reside or are likely exposed. Shower heads, faucets, whirlpools, spas, fountains, misters, and cooling towers often act as shelters for biofilm to develop and harbor Legionella. It is vital to have an inspector consult you and your staff on safe tactics in preventing growth and knowing where the risks may be hidden.
Our inspectors and consultants are trained on the developing standards and laws that shape how building owners and facilities managers must manage building water systems in regards to Legionella. EHI can conduct walk-throughs, detailed inspections, intensive water sampling, and perform risk assessments in your facility.
Through partnering with your teams on-site, we are happy to observe your current building water system management plan, suggest remediation techniques, discuss proper disinfection guidelines, and validate your control methods based on your concerns.