The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) today (18/05/2020) has urged people to be aware of Legionnaires’ Disease, a type of pneumonia which causes serious illness in people aged over 50 years, smokers, and those with underlying health conditions.
Legionnaires’ Disease and the milder form, Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness, are caused by the growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems which are not adequately managed.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many buildings have been closed, or their use restricted. This can increase the risk of Legionella growth in the water systems and associated equipment including evaporative air conditioning systems, water fountains, showers, spa pools, and other equipment if the water systems have not been managed adequately.
This comes on foot of notifications from the Health & Safety Authority on Friday advising Hairdressers and other businesses to maintain weekly flushing of all outlets.
“For premises with simple water systems, which have had to shut down, such as small shops and hairdressers, if access is still permitted, then extended weekly flushing of all outlets will assist in maintaining microbiological control.”