Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia and is caused by inhaling small drops of water (aerosols) from contaminated bacteria. Anybody can catch the disease, but it is most likely to affect middle aged people, elderly people and those with poor immune systems – especially if they have a chest, lung or other serious health problem. Not everyone exposed will become ill and you can’t get it from drinking water, unless it accidentally goes into the lungs whilst drinking.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are very similar to flu:
- Dry cough
- Raised temperature
- Fever or chills
- Muscle pain.
Even though the risk of Legionnaires’ disease in a domestic property is rated as low risk, it can sometimes be found in spray from showers, taps, Jacuzzi baths and garden hoses. In addition to this, a lot of people are now installing hot tubs in their homes and gardens, which increases the potential risk of infection.