How to Prevent Legionella Pneumonia?

Q:
How to prevent legionella pneumonia?

A:
Legionella pneumonia refers to pneumonia caused by the bacterium legionella. There’re no effective vaccines to prevent legionella pneumonia.

Legionella is naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in human-made building water systems like

  • Showerheads and sink faucets
  • Cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralized air cooling systems for building or industrial processes)
  • Hot tubs that aren’t drained after each use
  • Decorative fountains and water features
  • Hot water tanks and heaters
  • Large plumbing systems

Home and car air-conditioning units do not use water to cool the air, so they are not a risk for Legionella growth.

After Legionella grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella then has to spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. People can get Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever when they breathe in small droplets of water in the air that contain the bacteria.

Prevention Methods:

  • Make sure that the hot tub has the right disinfectant and pH levels (7.2 to 7.8). You can ask the hot tub operator for more information.
  • Use the toolkit that CDC develops to implement a safer water management program.
  • If possible, do the same thing to other places, such as hot water tanks, plumbing systems, and decorative fountains.

 

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.