Legionella Risk in Closed Buildings: What You Should Know

When it comes to potential sources of illness, COVID-19 has obviously been front-and-center recently—and, as a result of the pandemic, many offices, businesses, hotels and other facilities have been closed for several weeks.

As a result of these vacancies and closures, many of those businesses’ regularly-used plumbing and water systems have become dormant.

As a result, that could mean that, when everyone does start returning to work, there could be yet another risky disease vector laying in wait: legionella.

Stagnant and standing water is the perfect environment for the infectious bacteria Legionella pneumophila (also known as the cause of Legionnaires’ disease), to grow and spread. If not detected, that could lead to serious illness for you, your staff, and your guests upon returning to your building.

Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about legionella, and how our full suite of environmental laboratory testing capabilities can help detect Legionella in your water supply before it impacts your people, or your business.

What Is Legionella?

  • An infectious bacteria known to multiply and spread through water. Legionella is the predominant cause of the disease known as Legionnaires disease (also known as legionellosis), a form of atypical pneumonia that may be fatal.

Why Are Closed Buildings At Risk Of Spreading Legionella?

  • When buildings are closed for a long time, stagnant and standing water in the plumbing systems can be an ideal breeding ground for legionella, which may contribute to the spread of the bacteria when people return to work. Legionella pneumophila also thrives in environments such as shower heads, faucets, saunas, cooling towers, hot tubs, fountains, hot water tanks, and large plumbing systems.

What Can Be Done To Prevent the Spread of Legionella?

  • Testing. To help minimize health risks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included Legionella pneumophila testing as part of their recently updated Guidance for Building Water Systems best practices for reopening buildings.

Can Eastern Analytical Help?

We are here to assist you during this challenging time as you prepare to re-open. Order your testing kit today, or email us to get in touch with our team to get your building’s plumbing system tested. That way, you can keep your employees and guests safe from whatever might be waiting for you to return.