Legionella bacteria are often remain present in water and they multiply whenever the temperature increases from 20 degree Celsius to reach at 45 degree Celsius, while nutrients remain available. However, these bacteria show dormant behavior below 20 degree Celsius and fail to survive at temperature higher than 60 degree Celsius.
Legionnaires’ disease is a fatal form of pneumatic problem takes place by the inhalation of airborne water droplets, which incorporate Legionella bacteria in viable form. For instance, the disease takes place from droplets formed by the outlets of various cold and hot water, atomizers, hydrotherapy baths, wet air conditioning systems and similar others. Even though almost every individual may develop the problem of Legionnaires’ disease, but alcoholics, smokers and elder people, along with diabetes, cancer or chronic kidney or respiratory disease patients remain at relatively higher risk related to the disease.
How Can You Prevent Legionella?
Until now, doctors and medical research professionals have not able to find any suitable vaccine to prevent Legionnaires’ disease. Instead, they recommend the key to prevent the problem is to assure that owners/managers of any residential or commercial buildings should design water systems with the aim to reduce the risk related to the growth as well as spread of Legionella bacteria. Accordingly, preventative measures should include-
Water Temperature Control to Prevent Legionella
Water temperature control is the primary and the most important method related to avoid the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. Hence, water services should choose operable temperatures aim towards the prevention of Legionella as per-
- Installation of cylinders for hot water storage to store water at about 60 degree Celsius or higher
- Distribution of hot water at about 50 degree Celsius or at higher value with fitting of thermostatic valves close to other outlets showing a scald risk
- Storage and distribution of cold water at temperature less than 20 degree Celsius
- Routine Inspection and Cleaning to Prevent Legionella
- Building owners should hire a competent and qualified person capable to check regularly, while inspect to clean the system according to the risk assessment.
Identification of Sentinel Outlets and Temperature Distribution Monthly
You should make sure of identifying sentinel outlets i.e. closest and furthest towards each cylinder or tank and check monthly about the distribution of temperature. Even you should make sure checking the temperature of hot water stored in cylinders monthly, while the temperature of cold water tanks at the interval of 6 months.
Prevent the Accumulation of Stagnant Water
Stagnant water leads to the growth of Legionella bacterium and thereby, spread of the Legionnaire disease. Hence, to avoid the risk, you should make sure about removing dead ends in any pipe work and flushing out rarely used outlets, including taps and shower heads at least once in a week. Even you should clean as well as de-scale the heads of shower and hose them properly at least for one time in 3 months. Other than this, you should clean cold-water storage on a periodic basis and drain out excessive water cylinders to check any sign related to corrosion or the formation of debris there.
Key Steps in Design Systems to Reduce the Growth of Legionella
Finally, you have to include design systems in the following ways to reduce the growth of Legionella bacteria-
- Keep the working pipes small as possible with direct connection
- Assurance of adequate insulation for tanks and pipes
- Application of materials, which never or less likely to encourage the growth and spread of Legionella bacterium
- Avoid contamination of water by the help of fitting tanks with insect screens and lids.
Therefore, by following a few simple and easy steps, you will expect to prevent the occurrence of Legionella bacteria which causes Legionnaire’s disease.