Thursday, 7 February 2013

Legionnaires Disease – Advice on Keeping the Bug at Bay from Duct Work Cleaning Specialists

Legionnaires' disease makes big news, and how to minimise the risk of it is a subject we’re very often asked to advise upon when carrying out commercial duct work cleaning. Here we look at how this potentially fatal disease can arise in water systems and how regular duct work cleaning can minimise the chance of it arising in your premises.

What is Legionnaires' Disease?

Legionnaires is a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by the aerobic Legionella bacterium. A severe form of pneumonia, the symptoms of legionnaires' disease include flu like illness with tiredness, headache, aching muscles, loss of appetite, coughing, chills and high fever. But while infectious, legionnaires' disease is not spread from person to person, rather it is spread by contaminated aerosols – small droplets of water that evaporate very quickly – from a contaminated water system. Generally, breathing in these aerosols is the cause of infection.

So how do these aerosols become contaminated?

Legionella bacteria thrive in water – but not just any water. Widely distributed in the environment, legionella bacteria have been found in waterways, ponds and puddles, as well as in rain water, but they are mostly an issue when found in man-made water systems, such as in air conditioning systems, spas and swimming pools.

Why is Legionnaires' Disease Such Big News?

In the UK we are lucky that legionnaires' disease is a relatively uncommon illness – affecting an average of between 400-500 people a year. Although treatable with intravenous antibiotics, unfortunately around 10% of people, generally those in high risk groups, will die of complications caused by legionnaires' disease.

As well as the potentially fatal aspect of this illness, due to the way in which it is spread, legionnaires' often makes big news because of the size of the outbreaks, such as the summer 2012 outbreak in Edinburgh, Scotland in which three men died and more than 100 were treated for the illness.

Why Water System and Duct Work Cleaning Helps Prevent Legionnaires' Disease

It is for good reason that many questioned the link between the Edinburgh outbreak of legionnaires' disease and the current economic climate. In the UK we have strict legislation in place to ensure that water systems used for air conditioning in commercial buildings are subject to regular maintenance and professional duct work cleaning. But budgets for maintenance have been slashed in many businesses, sometimes prolonging the period between cleans – with potentially devastating consequences.

The two most important factors for preventing an outbreak of legionnaires' disease are to ensure water is either cooled to below 20°C or heated to over 60°C, and to keep the water from stagnating and free of impurities. With careful management, including regular air conditioning and duct work cleaning, risks of harmful bacteria, including legionella, are reduced significantly.

Ingot Services – Your Professional Duct Work Cleaning Company

Ingot Services are professional duct work cleaning company with over 25 years’ experience working with customers across the whole spectrum of industries.

To find out more about how Ingot Services can help minimise the risk of legionnaires' disease and other harmful bacteria with duct work cleaning call today on 0800 731 7892.

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