As of August 2017, two residents of the Rego Park Apartment in New York, US, were admitted to nearby hospitals after contracting Legionnaires’ disease. The cases happened within a 6 month period in the same address. Officials said they notified the tenants of the situation and also have been testing the water to ensure that the building taps and water supply system were free of the disease-causing Legionella bacteria. To avoid a potential outbreak, Legionella testing for landlords is recommended to prevent tenants from becoming infected with the bacteria that causes the disease.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can be fatal. People can catch the disease when they inhale droplets of water that contain the Legionella bacteria. All water systems can harbour these microorganisms; all it takes is the right conditions. These include the following:
- The right temperatures (between 20 degrees Celsius and 50 degrees Celsius)
- Storing and recirculating the water
- Presence of rust, scale, biofilm or sludge in the water
- Production and dispersal of water in aerosol form, such as water from a shower head
Individuals who get infected develop symptoms similar to the flu such as a fever, cough and having difficulty breathing. It is not contagious, meaning it cannot be passed from one person to another. Also, it is worth noting that not everybody who inhales contaminated water will get sick. Senior citizens and people who have a compromised immune system are more susceptible. They are advised to take extra precautions when it comes to taking showers, baths or using spray taps.
If you own the home you live in, you need to take steps to keep your taps, shower heads and water systems clean and clear of rust, slime, dirt and bacteria. For people who live in an apartment or are renting a room, the responsibility of keeping the water systems free of health hazards falls on the landlord.
A landlord can be any individual that rents out a room in their house or one of their properties. Landlords have the responsibility of keeping their properties safe and free of health hazards. This can be done by doing the following:
- Flush out the property’s water system before it is offered for lease.
- Ensure that tanks are always closed and sealed with a tight lid.
- Check that the water is at the right temperature. Cold water should be under 20 degrees Celsius while hot water must be kept over 50 degrees Celsius.
- Remove redundant pipework.
- Install instantaneous water heaters to prevent water from becoming stagnant.
If you suspect that your water systems are contaminated by the Legionella bacteria, order a testing kit from AquaCert today. AquaCert’s water testing kits make it easy to test the waters for contamination. Simply take a water sample from each tap and shower head in the property. Once the samples are ready, contact the company to have a courier pick them up. Results of the test will then be sent to you either by mail or by post.