Legionella in Drinking Water

What are legionella?

Legionella are rod-shaped bacteria that can cause various diseases in humans. The most significant species for humans is Legionella pneumophila. Depending on the region, its proportion is up to 90%. Infection with this species can result in Legionnaires’ disease or legionellosis.

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How does Legionella get into the water?

Legionella are bacteria that live in water. They occur where the conditions are most favourable for reproduction. Legionella feels most comfortable at temperatures between 30 and 45 degrees. They hardly reproduce below 20 degrees and are killed at temperatures above 60 degrees. Optimal conditions are found, for example, in hot water distribution systems, boilers or cold water pipes with long downtimes, for example, after a holiday.

What are the consequences of Legionella in tap water?

Suppose the pathogens reach the deeper respiratory tract. In that case, they can cause Legionnaires’ disease or, in the less drastic but still dangerous case, Pontiac fever. In the worst case, Legionnaires’ disease can lead to pneumonia, which may even be fatal. The primary sources of infection are mainly showers and other water-spraying devices such as air conditioners.

Who is responsible?

It is recommended that homeowners and landlords carry out a thorough risk assessment to determine if there is a high risk of Legionella in their building’s drinking water system. An annual testing obligation is for facilities that dispense drinking water as part of a public activity, for example, water taps in public buildings or showers in sports halls.

Legionella in tap water: What to do?

If Legionella is detected in water house pipes, the first step is to inform the affected consumers. Landlords, in particular, must comply with this duty to report immediately. This can be done in person or in writing, for example, as a notice in the stairwell or as an information letter.

Is your water free of Legionella? Only a laboratory water test can tell. Get a Legionella Water Test Kit to be sure about the water quality.

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