Legionella – No1 in Legionellosis Prevention and Control
Gimasur – Prevention and Control of Legionella in Granada, Malaga, Cordoba, Jaen and Seville
Legionella (Legionella pneumophila) is a bacterium that lives naturally in water and can cause a disease called “Legionnaire’s disease”. This disease is very similar in symptoms and damages to Covid19 Coronavirus so it can be confused. Like the coronavirus it can present in two ways:
- A severe pneumonia or “Legionnaire’s Disease” with a similar death rate to the Covid coronavirus19.
- “Pontiac fever”, is a mild febrile illness without pulmonary focus.
Not all people get this disease, according to studies, there are several factors that may favour the development of this disease. Some of these factors are:
- The majority of registered cases are of people over 60 years of age.
- The male sex among the cases is much higher than the female sex.
- Alcohol and tobacco consumption favour it.
- Previous respiratory diseases.
- People suffering from other types of diseases such as cancer or diabetes, among others.
How do you get Legionnaires’ disease?
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted when you breathe in micro-particles of water contaminated by Legionella bacteria.
The aerosolisation of water is formed by the small drops that are created when water is sprayed or when bubbles are formed in the water, as in the case of whirlpools. Therefore, the smaller the droplets, the more easily they can access the airways. If this sprayed water is contaminated by legionella, the disease will develop.
The risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease varies depending on the amount of Legionella bacteria concentrated in the water that is sprayed and the time of exposure of the person to this water.
There are several facilities that favour the growth of legionella pneumophila bacteria, differentiated according to RD 865/2003, in facilities with a higher and lower probability of proliferation. This is only a classification of probabilities but according to our experience there are many more outbreaks of Legionella in facilities of lower risk due to the neglect and confidence that they have a lower probability of proliferation.
The facilities with the highest probability of legionella proliferation are:
- Cooling towers and evaporative condensers
- Domestic Hot Water Systems (DHW) with accumulator and return circuit. Accumulators, network and terminals (taps and showers)
- Climate Control Water Systems with constant agitation and recirculation through high speed jets or air injection (Spas, Jakuzzis, Hydromassage baths, etc.).
- Industrial humidification plants.
The facilities with the least likelihood of legionella proliferation are:
- Interior installation systems Cold Water for Human Consumption (AFCH): Tanks, cisterns, network and terminals (taps and showers).
- Domestic hot water systems (DHW) without a return circuit: such as hot water thermos flasks.
- Ornamental Fountains.
- Sprinkler irrigation systems in urban environments: sprinklers and micro-diffusers in gardens, lawns, etc.
- Fire Water Systems (SCI): Fire tanks, equipped fire hydrants (BIE’s) and Sprinklers.
- Outdoor Aerosol Cooling Elements: such as diffusers used in terraces and trade fairs.
- Any other apparatus that accumulates water and can produce aerosols.
How to prevent Legionella?
To prevent Legionella from affecting our facilities we must carry out the following measures:
- All installations must have a UNE-EN 13443-1 particle filter after the meter.
- Each water system must have a check valve, in accordance with UNE-EN 1717, which prevents water from flowing back due to a loss of pressure or a decrease in the flow rate supplied, and especially when necessary to avoid mixing water from different circuits, qualities or uses.
- Frequently, the appropriate concentration of free residual chlorine must be controlled, guaranteeing water of microbiological quality, between 0.2-1.0 ppm of CRL in AFCH. In hot water circuits its temperature must be higher than 50ºC in the network to prevent its proliferation and multiplication.
- The water circuits are purged, so that water is renewed weekly after it has been dumped. Eliminating dead sections of pipes.
- Avoiding or reducing the aerosolisation of water and exposure to it, shielding installations (such as fountains, irrigation systems or cooling towers away from people), trying to make the drops of water larger, watering at night without people being present, etc.
- At least once a year, the installation must be cleaned and disinfected by authorised companies such as Gimasur with ROESBA 0809-AND-450. https://gimasur.com/treatments/disinfection/
Gimasur – Disinfection in Andalusia
In order to comply with the hygienic-sanitary obligations for the prevention and control of legionella, marked in the Real Decreto 856/2003, Gimasur provides the following services to our clients:
- CLEANING AND DISINFECTION of the risk facilities, with their corresponding Health Certificate and a Photographic Dossier of these actions. Because we do clean the tanks and accumulators in depth.
- Laboratory analysis, accredited by ENAC or certified by ISO 9001, of the water samples for the analytical determination of the presence/absence of legionella.
- Preparation, implementation and maintenance of an Annual Hygiene and Health Maintenance Programme for the prevention and control of Legionnaire’s Disease, in accordance with Real Decreto 865/2003 and the Technical Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Legionnaire’s Disease. It describes in detail all the facilities and responsibilities covered by the Programme, specifying all the tasks to be carried out, both reviews, analyses, and cleaning and disinfection. It specifies for each of them: periodicities, methods and procedures and the people responsible for each task. Including a plan or water scheme of the installation in which the points of analysis and the different representative points will be indicated.
- Analysis and Diagnosis of the situation of the installation, through the elaboration of an Annual Risk Assessment of Legionnaire’s Disease.
- Elaboration and Advising for the implantation of the Book of Maintenances, according to establishes the applicable norm for each installation.
- Accompaniment and Advice before Health Authority Inspections. We also offer a 24h/365 day notification service, for the resolution of any incident and the relevant advice.
- We deliver, together with the documentation, the appropriate accreditations by means of a Dossier which includes: the cards of the operators, safety sheets of the products used and the certificate of registration in the Official Register of Biocide Establishments and Services of Andalusia (ROESBA 0809-AND-450).