Legionella Testing – Is it really Important?
Outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease receive significant media attention especially when a large number of people become ill or die. In contrast to highly publicised outbreaks, single cases often go unnoticed or reported. However, Legionnaires’ disease is a legitimate public health concern as it can be fatal. The fatality rate during an outbreak ranges from 5% to 30% in those who contract the disease.
The immediate consequences for the building owner or manager faced with liability claims and negative publicity can be devastating and extremely costly. Many experts agree that proactively managing the risk of Legionella bacteria in water systems is more cost effective than responding to an outbreak after it has occurred.
We recommend building owners, operators, and employees establish a Legionella control and management program, including routine monitoring and testing, in areas where the potential risk of Legionella infection is foreseeable. This accomplishes two tasks:
- It indicates the effectiveness of the control measures in place, and;
- It provides an early warning of any potential problems.