Legionella is a pathogenic strain of bacteria, commonly living in amoeba and other protozoa. This tiny microorganism can be extremely harmful – even deadly – to humans unfortunate enough to encounter it and find themselves home to incubation.  While Legionella is a water-borne pathogen, humans do not become infected with Legionnaire’s Disease (a pneumonia-like infection that causes death in 10% of cases [1]) through drinking water.

Legionnaire’s Disease is actually transmitted through tiny particles of water vaporized into the air.  This vaporization can occur through a variety of methods, the most common of which are large cooling towers and air conditioning units.  In fact, manufacturers of these machines specify instructions on how to maintain and keep the units running cleanly – it’s of the utmost importance that the bacterium isn’t allowed to gain a foothold in the water supply.

One of the hallmarks of the Legionella bacteria is that it forms an anchoring to surfaces, living or not.  Biofilms create protection for a bacterial colony; the interlocking, woven structure of the individual microbes secrete a thick substance that closes off the colony from the outside world.  One cannot ignore the traits of biofilms when treating a Legionella overgrowth.  A single, missed chunk of biofilm can create a whole new colony.

Prevention and Removal

It’s far more efficient and effective to keep up sanitation procedures and follow the manufacturer’s directions to maintain the integrity of cooling systems.  Unfortunately, there is always the odd bacterium that will slip past all of the prevention methods we employ.  With such a high potential for harm in human hosts, there must also be systems in place for removal.

Chemical treatments are powerful enough to remove large quantities of biofilm and its inhabitants; however, there may be some dead-leg piping or areas where water moves too slowly for these tools to be effective.  There are numerous ways to clean the slate, but it’s important to use multiple angles and to employ testing with every intervention.

Somewhere between prevention and removal lies a pivotal moment when bacterial growth can be halted and reversed.  What if you could detect a bacterial outbreak before it had the chance to propel itself into the air?  Our RAPID (Rapid Airborne Pathogen Identification and Detection) device scans your apparatus up to 1,000 times per week, allowing you to take action at the precise and most effective moment.  Furthermore, data collected by this advanced system can be monitored and analyzed online via the cloud.  Take the guesswork out of Legionella monitoring and contact us today.

[1]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionnaires%27_disease