Risks of the respiratory infection caused by COVID-19 are concerning, real and very much on public radar. What is less known is the increased risk of Legionnaires Disease that idle and vacant buildings are creating.
As schools, stores, hotels and businesses reopen, Legionella bacteria – known to cause the pneumonia-like respiratory ailment Legionnaires Disease – may await. Legionella bacteria grows in warm, stagnant water; water systems shut down due to COVID-19 – such as those in vacant buildings – making unused showers, cooling towers, decorative water fountains, hot tubs and plumbing systems a fertile breeding ground for Legionella. Infection occurs when someone inhales water droplets containing the bacteria.
From businesses reopening to colleges resuming classes, an awareness of Legionnaires Disease – and how to safely restart operations without spreading bacteria – is important.