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What are the causes of Legionnaires’ disease?


Legionnaires’ disease is caused by an infection of the legionella bacteria in your lungs. There are a number of potential ways in which can contract Legionnaires’ disease and in this article Accident Advice Helpline delves into some of the more common causes.

The primary cause of Legionnaires’ disease is the inhalation of contaminated droplets of water in the air or, in extremely rare cases, water that goes down the ‘wrong pipe’ when drinking. Contrary to widely believed opinion, Legionnaires’ cannot be contracted through the consumption of contaminated water alone and is not contagious. Legionnaires’ is a cause of many public liability accidents.


Legionella bacteria causes Legionnaires’ disease

As the name suggests, Legionnaires’ disease is contracted through contact with Legionella bacteria. Legionella is present in almost any freshwater environment including rivers and lakes, although it is almost impossible to contract Legionnaires’ through these sources. This is due to a low presence of the bacteria and low temperature, creating an unsuitable environment for the bacteria to spread and grow.

If the bacteria were to penetrate an artificially created water source, such as a drinking supply, then it will multiply and reproduce rapidly, significantly increasing the risk of infection.

Legionella bacteria thrive in conditions between 20-45°c and in water sources with high levels of other contaminants, including sludge and algae to feed off.

Large water systems such as those present in a hotel or hospital are particularly vulnerable to contamination by Legionella bacteria. Other potential risks of infection include; air-conditioning systems which use water; cooling towers, spas, baths, showers, swimming pools, sprinkler systems, and humidifiers that are used in food counters.


Risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease

Anyone is at risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease, but the risk of infection significantly increases for; those over 50, heavy tobacco users or former smokers with a long history of tobacco use, diabetics, those suffering from kidney disease, those with a weak immune system for example HIV and AIDS sufferers, or those with a heart or liver condition.

Legionnaires’ disease is the cause of many public liability claims. If you’ve contracted Legionnaires’ within the last 3 years, then you may be entitled to claim compensation. Accident Advice Helpline are a registered law firm who specialise in all areas of personal injury law including public liability claims for Legionnaires’ disease. contact us today for more information. Our lines are open 24/7 and a friendly, professional advisor is waiting to take your call.