What are Legionella bacteria?
Legionella (legionnaires disease causing bacteria) are a species of bacteria that grow and live in water. These bacteria live in low numbers in natural water sources. But when they get into man-made water systems they can grow very quickly in high numbers.
Man-made systems often create an ideal environment for Legionella species to grow. Especially due to 3 factors:
- Water temperature
- Dirty water systems
- Stagnant water in pipes and storage tanks.
What is Legionnaires Disease?
Legionnaires disease is an infection of the lungs that is a form of pneumonia. A person can develop Legionnaires disease by inhaling water mist contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
Legionella was discovered after an outbreak in 1976 among people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion. Those who were affected suffered from a type of pneumonia (lung infection) that later, the bacterium causing the illness was named Legionella pneumophila. The disease then became known as Legionnaires disease.