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Legionella Sampling

December 7, 2015

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the Legionella bacteria that thrive in warm water (95-115oF). Legionella can become a problem in buildings with stagnant warm water or with features such as cooling towers, hot tubs, fountains, water tanks, water heaters, etc. that have not been maintained. Legionella is a natural inhabitant of water and can be detected in rivers, lakes, and streams. There are approximately 55 identified species within the genus, and it has been determined that over 90% of Legionellosis is caused by Legionella pneumophila. The disease is not transmitted from person to person, but rather through inhalation or aspiration of aerosols containing Legionella. Once the disease is contracted, some of the symptoms include fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, and loss of coordination. Legionnaires’ disease can go misdiagnosed and underreported.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has developed a Legionella management standard, ANSI/ASHRAE 188-2015, providing guidelines and action levels for maintaining water systems. Legionella can be detected using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis or a viable culture method. For more information or to schedule sampling please contact OSI.