Legionella Testing / Biosafety Training


Richard W Gilpin PhD Blog

The Importance of Legionella Testing

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious pneumonia most common during the summer and fall. It can be deadly since there is no vaccine for the disease which is caused by several species of bacteria in the Genus Legionella. It is naturally found in streams, rivers, pools, and ponds. Legionella enter municipal water supplies in low numbers and can multiply to high numbers in water-containing mechanical equipment such as cooling towers and potable water systems. Legionella are dispersed in aerosols  from this equipment that people can inhale into their lungs. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HCCP) is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food. HCCP has been adopted for control of legionella. Legionella testing is used to determine whether legionella control procedures are adequate. Here are some reasons  why accurate and regular legionella testing is important:

It can cause diseases – As we previously mentioned, legionella bacteria cause a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease or legionellosis. This is typically accompanied by symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle ache, chest pain, kidney damage, and more. Most cases can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosis is made early in the disease. The case-fatality rate remains over 10% percent. There are currently 1.62 legionellosis cases per 100,000 persons in the United States.

It can be found in common places – Legionella are found in fresh water sources used for municipal water supplies. People are exposed to legionella-containing aerosols from warm water-containing mechanical equipment such as cooling towers next to or on top of buildings, car wash facilities, grocery store vegetable misters, hot tubs, and showers. Patients on respirators in healthcare facilities and people with compromised immune systems are most susceptible. There is a 2016 guideline from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that helps building owners reduce the legionella hazard in their water-containing mechanical equipment.

Though outbreaks of this Legionnaires’ disease are not common, it is important to test for legionella testing to determine whether legionella control programs are working. Legionella risk reduction procedures without legionella testing may not prevent legionellosis cases. So, to accurately protect the environment, yourself, and those around you, be sure to find a trustworthy legionella testing service. Find more information about reputable legionella testing and biosafety procedures at www.legionella.com.