Ever since the outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease occurred in Stoke and England last year, many people have been concerned about the control of legionella in the water systems. Legionnaire’s disease is a form of pneumonia that is caused by bacteria. Most people develop this disease by breathing in mist from legionella-containing water. People who have a weakened immune system and are over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk for developing this condition. Additionally, this condition is more common in people who smoke and have emphysema or a chronic lung condition.

Headache, muscle pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and loss of appetite are some of the possible symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease. If this condition is left untreated, then it can lead to a number of complications. Respiratory failure, acute kidney failure and septic shock are some of the possible complications.

Minimising the Risk of Legionella Bacteria

TM13: Minimising the Risk Of Legionnaires’ disease has been published by the Chartered Institution of Building Services. This guide sets authoritative standards and provides people with information about how they can reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. This guide also provides information about control measures.

Legionella bacteria is usually found in lakes and rivers, but it can also be found in contaminated building water services and systems. Spa pools, domestic cold and hot water and cooling towers are examples of water systems that can be contaminated with legionella bacteria. The bacteria will multiply rapidly once the water systems have been contaminated. Once the bacteria has multiplied, it can be released into the droplets of air. This can pose a major health threat.

Hotels, museums, hospitals, office blocks and other large buildings are at the greatest risk for becoming contaminated with legionella. The reason that large buildings are more likely to be infected is because they have large water systems. Bacteria can spread very rapidly in large water systems.

The work group for TM13 comments was chaired by Greg Davies. The following statement has been released “The guidelines have been revised and updated in order to reflect the technological, legal and environmental advances that have taken place during the last 10 years. The main advantage that comes along with this document is that it has the advice needed to maintain and manage water services and systems. It also has the advice that people need to control and reduce the risks of legionella."

In the United Kingdom, The HSE Legionnaires’ Disease - The Control of Legionella Bacteria In Water Systems Approved Code Of Practice and Guidance is main source that is used for Legionella management. TM13 will assist in helping people meet those requirements. The Guide is mainly geared towards people who install, design, operate or maintain water systems inside of a building.

In order to maintain efficient safety, the water systems must be engineered properly. When operation and managerial options fail, the risk of legionella will increase. This new guide will address those issues and encourage people to take the steps that are necessary to prevent legionella.

AquaCert is an easy and inexpensive procedure for screening water for legionella bacteria.

Our complete legionella testing service costs from just £44.50 + VAT, anywhere in the United Kingdom. In the event of a positive legionella result, we offer advice and guidance on eliminating the bacteria and also on future control and monitoring - all free of charge.

Author: +Duncan Hollis