The Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health (Microbial Control) Regulation 2012 control various man made environments and systems which are conducive to the growth of Legionella organisms and which are capable, under the right conditions, of transmitting Legionella infections. These regulated systems include:
- water cooling systems
- hot water systems
- warm water systems, and
- air handling systems.
Legionella infection and control (Pontiac Fever and Legionnaires disease)
Legionellosis results from infection by a group of bacteria named Legionella. Many different species of Legionella are commonly found in the environment, some of which are known to cause illness in people.
Legionella pneumophila is commonly found in water and has been isolated from regulated systems such as hot water systems, air conditioning cooling towers, warm and cold water taps and showers. The bacteria must be inhaled to cause disease. Legionnaires’ disease occurs most commonly in warmer months. Cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use or stress increase the risk of the disease.
In the North Coast region Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) inspect and monitor these regulated systems that have the potential to harbour the Legionella bacteria. EHOs also investigate cases who have contracted the disease and attempt to identify and rectify the likely source.