Chemstar WATER has developed and fine-tuned its proven microbiological control program focused on helping mitigate many microbiological challenges. Legionella is no other. We recommend our customers adopt a robust water management program to control microbiological activity, especially Legionella Pneumophila, through effective biofilm control in their cooling and potable water systems.
We use state-of-the-art technologies to detect microbiological activity while partnering with world-renowned infectious disease experts. We know the challenges you face in fighting Legionella, microbiological, biofilm, and fungal activities, and are ready to partner with you in creating a customized solution to mitigate them.
LEGIONELLA IN HUMANS
What is Legionella?
Legionella is a ubiquitous, naturally occurring bacteria found in freshwater sources. While in nature, such as rivers or lake streams, it can be innocuous, it becomes a health concern when it grows in water distribution systems. Inhaled aerosolized Legionella would lead to severe pneumonia called Legionellosis or Legionnaire’s disease.
How it Spreads to Humans
When water storage systems are not properly maintained, Legionella tends to increase in number in the water supply. Room temperature is the perfect temperature for Legionella to thrive. From there water droplets are aerosolized and then inhaled by humans causing extreme lung infections and inflammation. Outbreaks are more common in large and complex cooling systems as well as potable systems that serve showers like those in hospitals, hotels, and cruise ships. It is less likely that humans get it from person to person transmission or become sick from drinking water containing Legionella.
Symptoms and Complications
Symptoms can come on 2-10 days after exposure. The shortlist includes:
- or muscle aches
People most at risk are those with weakened immune systems, current or former smokers, have lung conditions, and are over 50. The ensuing complications lead to respiratory failure, septic shock and acute kidney failure.
LEGIONELLA IN THE WATER
Source of Infection
As we noted earlier, this form of bacteria is actually present and often harmless in free-flowing bodies of water and soil. However, because we tend to capture and hold water for drinking and everyday use, residential features like water tanks, showerheads, faucets, pools, and hot tubs, can become potential hotspots for bacteria growth. Fortunately, air conditioners are not a source because they do not rely on water for transmission.
The origin of outbreaks at the commercial level center around the distribution systems of large buildings via their plumbing, humidifiers, mist machines, and cooling towers.
Certain criteria have been found to heighten the growth of Legionella:
- Sediment build-up: The presence of sludge, scale, and organic matter leads to the creation of a biofilm.
- Wide temperature ranges: Without adequate biocontrol, Legionella can remain viable even in cool water but flourishes in 68°F to 113°F.
- Like stagnant zones: Stagnant conditions like those in a water tank reservoir, pipings, fittings, and basins make it hard to eradicate.
- Grow alongside other microorganisms: The presence of untreated algae or other bacteria and protozoa, which serve as hosts, may lead to the proliferation of Legionella.
Cases on the Rise
Legionnaires is serious. It is estimated that about 1 out of 10 people do die from the infection. However, it can be treated with antibiotics. The majority of people who become infected do need hospital care, but they make a full recovery.
Mitigation and Prevention
The good news! Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease are preventable if the proper water management systems are in place. Buildings must ensure that water is monitored and cleaned regularly.
With greater visibility and education there have been more regulations and guidance.
- ASHRAE 188-2018
- CDC GUIDANCE
- AIHA Standard
- ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI #12080-2020
- NY CITY – CH8 TITLE24
- NY STATE – COOLING TOWER REGULATION
- NY STATE ADVISORY
CHEMSTAR WATER IS HERE TO HELP
Our certified, trained, and staff is here to support you around the clock. We will reduce your risk by helping you build a WATER MANAGEMENT & SAFETY PLAN including a full risk assessment. See our SOLUTIONS for industry-specific capabilities to see how we can directly serve you.
Special Pathogens Laboratory