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Legionella is a form of bacteria commonly found in water. The bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20 – 45°C and nutrients are available in the water. Below 20°C, the bacteria lie dormant and do not multiply, and they cannot survive in water temperatures above 60°C.
Inhaling droplets of water contaminated by Legionella can cause a form of Pneumonia called Legionnaire’s Disease, which is uncommon but can be very serious and potentially fatal.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:
The home is one of the least common places to get Legionnaire’s Disease. You also won’t get Legionnaire’s Disease through drinking water or contact with an infected person, and not everyone who comes into contact with the bacteria will become ill.
You can get Legionnaire’s disease in places where infected water droplets can be breathed in. This includes:
You can’t usually get Legionnaire’s Disease from:
To reduce the risk, there are some simple but important steps you can take.
If you have developed symptoms of Legionnaire’s Disease as highlighted above, you should get in touch with your GP as soon as possible, or call NHS 24 on 111 if your breathing is difficult or your symptoms are severe.
You (or someone else if you are unable to) should also call us as soon as possible on 0300 123 2640, and we’ll urgently investigate and treat your water system to deal with the Legionella.