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Legionella Bacteria – Are You At Risk?


Although bathrooms are a notorious breeding ground for bacteria, most of these microorganisms rarely pose a significant threat to our health. Legionella bacteria, however, can become deadly if inhaled. Sometimes found lurking in showerheads, it is important to understand the risks of this bacteria to yourself and your home or building occupants.

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What is Legionella?

Bacteria are microscopic infectious agents that can cause infections in humans and other living organisms. Legionella bacteria is most commonly found in water, including natural water sources as well as purpose built water systems, such as cooling towers.

Legionella bacteria has been implicated as a transmission mode for a type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires disease. This is an uncommon but serious lung infection that can cause long term health problems and death. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 10 cases of the disease are fatal.

How Can You Catch Legionella?

Legionella bacteria is found in purpose built water systems, including cooling towers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools. Although less common in homes, the bacteria can also be present in taps and showerheads that are not used regularly.

When a showerhead or tap is used after a lengthy idle period, contaminated water droplets can spread via the spray produced. The inhalation of these contaminated water droplets then leads to Legionnaires disease being transmitted.

Although everyone is susceptive to infection, there are certain groups who are particularly vulnerable and risk severe lung inflammation. These include smokers, heavy drinkers, diabetics, people who suffer from chronic respiratory disease, and anyone over the age of 45.

How Can You Reduce Your Risk?

Elmhurst’s Tony Robinson, Legionella Risk Assessment Scheme Coordinator, says:

“We recommend that everyone utilises an Elmhurst registered Legionella Risk Assessor to understand their potential risk to this life threatening disease. Our risk assessors are trained and competent to undertake this vital assessment of a dwelling to highlight any issues or concerns, allowing you as the landlord or homeowner to take vital steps in reducing the risk to people occupying the property.”

Find an Elmhurst Assessor Near You

You can find an Elmhurst registered Legionella Risk Assessor near you on our Find An Assessor search engine.

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Become A Legionella Risk Assessor

Book a place on Elmhurst’s online Legionella course and assess the risk of Legionella alongside your domestic EPC assessments.

This course is suitable for DEAs, Landlords, Estate Agents, Plumbing & Heating Engineers, and Social Housing providers.

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