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Legionnaires Disease

Legionnaires is not rare. It is perceived as rare only because most cases are never detected, and not all detected cases are reported to public health authorities.


As a duty holder, you are responsible for complying with health and safety and taking responsibility for managing the risks legionnaires represents to your business or organisation. A duty holder are those responsible for the control of premises in connection with a trade, business or other —- undertaking where water is stored or used, and where there is a means of creating and transmitting breathable water droplets (aerosol) thus creating a reasonable foreseeable risk of exposure to legionella bacteria.


What is it? Potentially fatal pneumonia cause by legionella bacteria can cause potentially fatal pneumonia, legionellosis (the collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria). Can also include serious conditions such as Pontiac Fever and Lochgoilhead fever.


Where does it come from? Legionella bacteria are naturally occurring in water (Lakes, groundwater etc) but usually in low numbers. They may be formed in purpose built water systems even as cooling towers, evaporative condensers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools.


Who is at risk? Anyone can be infected but increased risk groups are –

  • Over 45’s
  • Smokers/heavy drinkers
  • Those with suppressed immune systems
  • Those suffering respiratory or kidney disease.
  • Those suffering from diabetes, lung and heart disease.


How do people get it? People can contract legionnaires disease by inhaling droplets of water suspended in the air, which contains the bacteria. Certain conditions increase the risk of legionella if:

  • Water temperature in all or some parts of the system is between 20- 45 degrees which is optimum to encourage and sustain grow.
  • It is possible for breathable water droplets to be created and dispersed
  • there are deposits of water that can support bacterial growth and provide a source of nutrients for bacteria such as rust, sludge, organic matter and biofilms.


Men are more susceptible than women.


How is it controlled – various controls are governed by legislative customer practise or as per recommended in HSG 274 (The control on Legionella bacteria in water systems)




Microbial World –

Your cooling system is the ideal environment for microscopic organism to live and breed. They enter your system from the air or make up water and find everything need to survive there. Left uncontrolled they multiply quickly and can completely foul a system in a very short time


How do we treat it – ESC Global as an established water treatment organisation have a full range of chemicals and services used in the treatment of cooling systems. Our philosophy is to control all aspects of scale, deposition, corrosion and from a legionella point of view, most important is microbiological control. We implement control and individually tailored packages for each client with our objective being to:

“prevent harmless nature from

becoming harmful disease”

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