Legionnaire’s disease is a serious lung infection caused by airborne Legionella bacteria. Whilst this kind of bacteria is quite common in natural environments such as rivers and lakes, their entry into man-made water systems, cooling towers or air conditioning units can lead to serious illness. It is therefore incredibly important that we are able to recognise symptoms and identify any cases of infection in the earliest stages.
Legionella bacteria are responsible for a number of recognised diseases (collectively known as ‘Legionellosis’) – but with the potential to be fatal if left untreated, Legionnaire’s disease is widely recognised as the most dangerous of these.
It is incredibly rare for anybody to contract Legionnaire’s from a natural source; most reported cases stem from poorly maintained water systems found within schools, businesses and public amenities. As Legionella thrives in moist environments, the most common way to contract the disease is by inhaling infected water droplets.
Whilst Legionnaire’s thrives in the lungs, its initial symptoms are often mistaken for those of the flu: mild headaches, muscle pains and chills should therefore not be dismissed. It is not until the disease has developed significantly that more serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pains and a persistent cough may become evident. Again, more severe warning signs bear more than a fleeting resemblance to symptoms of pneumonia, which makes it even more critical to monitor any warning signs of the disease.
Due to the potential severity of this kind of disease, it’s essential that safe practice is exercised in the maintenance of internal water systems; as well as that staff and managers alike are adequately trained to recognise potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Legionella Awareness training is an ideal way to concisely and easily educate your workforce about the dangers of Legionnaire’s Disease. This kind of training is essential in any environment that uses internal water systems.
If you would like to learn more about Legionella Bacteria, where it is found and Legionnaires Disease then visit the Legionella Hub for more information.