Legionnaires health risk

The Environmental Health team at Mendip District Council is warning owners of all public buildings and volunteer-run premises to properly service their hot/cold water and air con systems before re-opening to customers, shoppers, staff and the public. 

Buildings like shops, offices, hairdressers, beauty salons, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, sports centres/clubs, gyms, residential buildings as well as campsites – in fact anywhere that has a water supply and is currently shut down – will need to check and maintain their systems.

This is because of the heightened risk of Legionnaires’ disease, which is a type of pneumonia. Any water systems lying dormant during the COVID-19 emergency are likely to have increased levels of bacteria present.

Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection you can catch by inhaling droplets of water from things like air conditioning or hot tubs. It’s uncommon, but can be very serious. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to COVID-19 and include high temperature, feverishness and chills, cough, muscle pains, headache, and pneumonia. Its name originates from a deadly 1976 outbreak of the disease at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

The Environmental Health team at Mendip District Council will be contacting local businesses about the threat. Meanwhile, advice can be found online here:www.mendip.gov.uk/article/8813/COVID-19-Managing-Legionella-in-Building-Water-Systems