21 Mar 2018


Legionella bacteria in your building, what’s next?

Legionella bacteria is ubiquitous in nature and can be reported from building water systems as well as naturally from lakes, ponds, and other aquatic environments. Legionella pneumophila is linked with Legionnaires Disease as well as Pontiac Fever. Each year, approximately 10,000 – 18,000 people are infected with this bacteria in the United States alone.

Legionella Bacteria

These Legionella bacteria are potentially impact on immunocompromised patients, elderly, and kids. The building water system needs to be periodically evaluated to assess any Legionella contamination. Especially health care facilities such as hospitals, assisted living facilities, hospitality industries (hotels, resorts, etc.), entertainment industry (amusement parks, etc.), travel points, airports, bus stations, train stations, cruise ships, K-12 schools and universities, government and other public buildings, as well as residential units.

To minimize and control any spreading of Legionella in buildings, a water management plan is highly encouraged that encompasses facility inspections, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) evaluations, periodical checks on humidifiers, as well as buildings designed for water systems. There are over 70 different types of Legionella bacteria; however, only a few strains can be causal organism for Legionnaires Disease. Hence, it is very important to perform the laboratory test in order to ascertain the type of Legionella bacteria in question, if any. It can be done on a proactive and reactive manner for the management of Legionella. A systematic steps towards the management and control of Legionella bacteria in a building can be understood as described in the Figure – 1 flow chart mentioned below:

Water Management Plan

Figure – 1: Steps of a Water Management Plan for control and prevention of Legionella in a building

For in a more in depth look at Legionella and best practices you can view the Environmental Diagnostic Laboratory Webinar series replay here. If you have any questions or require immediate Legionella testing please call 1-800-422-7873.