What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia, is caused by the bacteria legionella. Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person. Instead, bacteria propagate by mist, such as that created by large-scale air-conditioning systems. Adults over the age of 50, as well as those with weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease, or a history of heavy tobacco use, are particularly susceptible.
Many patients who are exposed to the bacteria have no signs of illness. Coughing, fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhoea are typical symptoms. When a human breathes in bacteria present in water, they become infected. Almost all Legionella cases will necessitate hospitalization. If not treated correctly, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal. Antibiotics can be used to treat Legionnaire’s disease.
How is Legionnaires’ Disease transmitted?
Inhaling or breathing in Legionella-contaminated water vapour or ashes may contribute to Legionnaires’ disease. While there are many Legionella types, Legionella pneumophila and Legionella longbeachae are the two that cause the most disease.
Legionella pneumophila is present in warm water naturally. Warm water is hazardous when aerosolized (converted into water vapour, vapor, or steam) and inhaled. L. pneumophila can be found in untreated/contaminated water bodies as follows:
Rainwater Collection Tanks
The vast majority of rainwater is naturally safe and chlorine-free, allowing bacteria to flourish. During the summer, water temperatures in Australia can range from 25 to 35°C. Sludge may be accumulated in the tank by bees, leaf litter, larvae, and rodents. Rainwater tanks can be used to provide garden toilets and irrigation facilities, as well as to disperse aerosol. In addition, once a pressure washer is fed, new problems emerge. It is recommended that you hire a specialist to clean your water tank once a year. Keeping up with regular Water Tank maintenance and repairs not only guarantees the integrity of your water supply, but it also eliminates pump misuse, improves the life of water filters, and decreases the risk of damage to household faucets.
Hot Tubs, Spa Pools and Jacuzzis
Continuous biological material introduction, recirculated water, and a warm (37°C) temperature provide an ideal breeding environment for bacteria. Bubbling and aerosol around people cause you to inhale water vapour without having to get in the hot tub. Many pools and spas have complex plumbing networks that enable bacteria to multiply over a wide surface area. Pseudomonas infections can occur in poorly controlled systems, but Legionella infections are not the only cause for concern.
Potting Mix & Soil
Legionella Longbeachae is a naturally occurring environmental organism that lives in soil. When handling potting mix, wear a particulate disposable cover, allow it to settle, do not shake the container until use, dampen dry potting mix to avoid dust escape, hold at arm’s length, wipe down leftovers, and brush away damp remains. Gardeners are more fragile statistically, as the vast majority of them are above the age of 50.
Cooling and Heating Units
The vast majority of employees spend the majority of their days indoors, in air-conditioned offices. If the air-conditioning system is not used on a daily basis, a variety of issues, including potentially fatal ones, can arise. The air-conditioning mechanism in a house is analogous to the structure’s lungs. The air conditioner pulls in ambient air, cleans it, heats, cools, or humidifies it, circulates it throughout the room, and then vents part of it to the outside world. The maintenance history of the building’s air-conditioning system effectively decide the consistency of the air many employees breathe at work. Bad indoor air quality, irritable staff, and potentially very ill workers will all result from subpar air conditioning. Inadequate office air conditioning comes at a high cost. According to reports, inadequate air conditioning causes increased sick leave and reduced efficiency, and consistently servicing the HVAC system saves several million dollars a year. Infectious infections, breathing disorders, and potentially fatal Legionnaires Disease are only a few of the human costs of inadequate air conditioning (or Legionella).
Hoses and outdoor faucets
Rubber is biodegradable and can be converted into bacterial nutrients. When this is combined with an infrequently used water outlet and summer temperatures, legionella may grow within the biofilm of the hose. When you turn on the lamp, which is normally connected to something that causes spray, it dislodges and escapes. Keep in mind the bacteria need water to disperse by using detachable hoses. By hanging the garden hose and allowing it to drain, biofilm accumulation can be avoided.
Sprinkler Systems and Rainwater Storage Reservoirs
The vast majority of rainwater is naturally safe and chlorine-free, allowing bacteria to flourish. During the summer, water temperatures in Australia can range from 25 to 35°C. Sludge may be accumulated in the tank by bees, leaf litter, larvae, and rodents. Rainwater tanks can be used to provide garden toilets and irrigation facilities, as well as to disperse aerosol. In addition, once a pressure washer is fed, new problems emerge. It is recommended that you hire a specialist to clean your water tank once a year. Keeping your Water Tank clean not only guarantees the integrity of your water supply, but it also eliminates pump misuse, improves the life of water filters, and decreases the risk of damage to household faucets.
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Plumbing and Hot Water Services
The hot water tank and its plumbing can be dangerous, particularly if they are not used for long periods of time. To destroy Legionella bacteria, hot water storage should be heated above 60°C. If temperatures vary between 30°C and 40°C and thick sludge has accumulated on the tank’s rim, heat convection provides ideal conditions for Legionella formation. In certain situations, hot water services are switched off or thermostats are deliberately turned down to improve energy efficiency. Warm water systems in hospitals and nursing homes are normally set to 42°C to minimize humidity, and if feeding several outlets or a complicated appliance, some form of systemic disinfection is suggested. Another choice to consider is solar hot water production. If they are unable to sustain the temperature necessary to remove Legionella, they can need an electrical booster device.
Water Fountains and Features
It doesn’t take long for algae to form and leaf matter to accumulate in the water of a fountain when exposed to light. Bacteria flourish in these environments, but what’s more worrying is that fountains are often seen at exits and, in some cases, reception areas. Some have brightly colored spray nozzles that contain water droplets that can be inhaled or entered through an open window. Bromine is the most widely used disinfectant to keep them clean, and they can be cleaned out every three months to keep the pond safe.
The mentioned above is not exhaustive, but it illustrates how various conditions can raise the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease, whereas there are other causes that are similarly dangerous and often ignored. It is vital to test, disinfect, and protect both water supplies and other bodies of water that could contain legionella bacteria on a regular basis.
Since the time between diagnosis and symptoms for Legionnaires’ Disease is typically between 2 and 10 days, determining the cause retrospectively is difficult.