What Managers of Healthcare Facilities need to Know about the Growth and Spread of LegionellaLegionella, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease, occurs
naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. Generally the low amounts of these bacteria in freshwater do not lead to disease. However, Legionella can pose a health risk when it gets into building water systems. To do this, Legionella first has to grow (increase in numbers), then it has to spread through small water droplets (aerosolization) that people can breathe in.
You can take steps to reduce the risk for Legionella in your building.
Factors that lead to Legionella Growth
Legionella can live and grow in biofilms.
A variety of internal and external factors can lead to a Legionella problem in your building, including:
- Water main breaks
- Changes in municipal water quality
- Scale and sediment
- Water temperature fluctuations
- pH fluctuations
- Inadequate levels of disinfectant
- Changes in water pressure
- Water stagnation
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