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16 June 2020 Warning over Legionnaires’ Disease

posted 17 Jun 2020, 00:50 by Ian Clarenbone

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) said in a statement released on Tuesday 16 June warning that recent warm weather and months of water systems going unused created "ideal conditions" for the bacteria that spread the disease after months of quarantine during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"If a building was closed for several months due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is likely that the water system has had no throughput. This, combined with the recent warm weather, means that legionella bacteria may have grown in the system and could pose a serious risk to health," the warning published by EEBC read.

NHS England warn that you can catch Legionnaires' disease if you breathe in tiny droplets of water containing bacteria that cause the infection. It's most frequently caught in communal places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply.

EEBC advised on how businesses and organizations can best protect their returning workforce:

"For small buildings flushing the system may be enough to ensure safety, but for larger buildings some form of disinfection is needed, and a longer time is required to carry out the treatment before the building is safe. Businesses have a responsibility for managing health and safety risks in the workplace including exposure to the legionella bacteria," the council said.

Former Mayor and Environment and Safe Communities Committee Chair Neil Dallen added: "The warm conditions this spring created the ideal conditions for the growth of legionella bacteria in unused water pipes, taps, tanks and shower heads in closed buildings”.