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Legionella Sources

by John A. Herbert

Since the discovery of the Legionellae genus in 1976 we have slowly learned more about this deadly pathogen. There are hundreds of papers, codes and guidelines, and yet every day people still contract this potentially fatal disease.

Legionalla occurs in nature at low concentrations, surviving tradiional water treatment, it enters the manmade systems installed in our buildings, and factories, where given warm and stagnent conditions it may rapidly grow.

legionella sources


Many people ask what equipment and devices have been associated with Legionnaires' disease and legionella outbreaks? The question almost misses the point, new and novel equipment is discovered, so a historcial list has little or no value.

Here is a list of some of typical equipment and devices implicated with Legionella infection (distributors and diseminators) in the past:

  • Air Handling Units (air conditioning)
  • Birthing Pool/Bath (Japan)
  • Car Wash Machine (commercial type)
  • Cooling Towers
  • Concrete plant jet washer (UK)
  • Decorative water feature (fountain, USA)
  • Dental machinery
  • Evaporative Cooler (swamp cooler)
  • Fire services hose reel
  • Food Display Counter (Cardiff)
  • Footbath
  • Fountain (USA)
  • Hot Water systems
  • Humidifiers
  • Hydro Therapy pool
  • Ice making machine (in hospitals)
  • Lathe Coolant (USA)
  • Misting Devices (for cooling)
  • Nebulizer (respirator)
  • Olsen (Japan spa)
  • Pneumatic vessel
  • Respirator (Hong Kong)
  • Shower Heads
  • Sight Glass (mist leakage)
  • Sewerage Treatment Plant (France)
  • Swimming Pools
  • Whirlpool / spa - hotel
  • Whirlpool / spa - exhibition
  • Whirlpool / spa - trade fair
  • Whirlpool / spa - retail
  • Wash basin (Tamar, Hong Kong)


  • also here is an older paper, published in 1994 with references, Click here to download but remember, that is not the whole picture, new and novel diseminators are discovered constantly. Risk Assessment is the key strategy.


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    legionnaires disease risk assessment


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