This page has been provided to inform you about the risks of contracting Legionnaires disease and how to safely prevent it.
Your Landlord has a legal obligation to ensure you are aware of the possible causes and symptoms of Legionnaires disease so you can identify any problems easily and report any concerns to your landlord or agent.
What is Legionnaires disease?
Legionnaires disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, which can affect anybody. It is caused by the inhalation of small droplets of water from contaminated sources containing legionella bacteria.
Where is Legionella found?
All hot and cold water systems in residential properties are a potential source for legionella bacteria growth.
The main areas of risk are where the bacteria can multiply and increase to dangerous levels and then spread, e.g. in spray from showers and taps, even in dishwasher and washing machine pipes.
Conditions ripe for colonisation are where water of between 20°C and 45°C stagnates, and where there is sludge, rust and scale present for the bacteria to feed upon and multiply.
Who is at risk?
Legionnaires disease most commonly affects the elderly, or people with chest or lung problems. Not everyone exposed to legionella bacteria becomes ill. Legionnaires disease is not contagious and you cannot get it from drinking water. On average, there are approximately 300 reported cases of Legionnaires disease a year in the UK.
The symptoms of Legionnaires disease are similar to those of flu:
• high temperature
• fever or chills
• muscle pain
• dry cough
There is no need for concern. Legionnaires disease is easily preventable by putting in place some simple control measures. The information below will help you identify any potential problems.
What precautions can you take?
Taking the following simple precautions will help keep you safe:
- Flush through showers and taps for 10 minutes following a period of non-use (i.e. after you have been on holiday or if a room is not in regular use)
- Keep all shower heads and taps clean and free from a build-up of lime scale, mould or algae growth
- Keep hot water on your boiler system at a temperature of 60°C or greater.
WARNING: BE AWARE OF SCALDING!
Report any deposits such as rust or any unusual matter flowing from your water outlets
What do you do if you think you may have contracted Legionnaires disease?
If you suspect that you or someone in your home has contracted Legionnaires disease, contact your doctor immediately.
You should also contact your landlord or agent so they can take the appropriate measures.