Yes, and it frequently is tested to monitor complex water systems, to detect the source of legionellosis outbreaks, and to monitor the effectiveness of water treatment when Legionella bacteria are detected.
2. Can Legionella bacterial contamination and infection be prevented?
The opportunities for them to occur can be minimized, but the risk cannot be totally eliminated. Legionella are very common bacteria in the environment. In building water systems, they can resist low levels of chlorine treatment and can persist in sediment found in pipes. Home and public hot tubs should be properly disinfected and pH of the water regularly checked and maintained at appropriate levels. Individuals at increased risk for infection may choose to avoid high-risk exposures, such as being in or near a hot tub.
The disease and bacteria were named after an incident in which a significant number of people who went to an American Legion convention in Philadelphia in 1976 developed pneumonia. A new type of bacteria was identified as the cause and was subsequently named Legionella. This outbreak caused illness in 182 people and resulted in 29 deaths.
This article was last reviewed on September 14, 2015. | This article was last modified on September 14, 2015.
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