Calls for Installers to be Vigilant as Cases of Legionnaires’ Disease Rise
Installers have been reminded to be vigilant about Legionella during the warmer summer temperatures after a yearly rise in cases of Legionnaires’ disease.
Stagnant outdoor water in hot tubs and hose pipes combined with the warmer temperature is an ideal environment for Legionalla to grow, says the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE).
As the prices of hot tubs and other outdoor water features has dropped, Legionnaires’ disease has been rising year-on-year.
Figures published by Public Health England show a clear increase in the number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in the UK in July of each year. Despite a drop from 2017 to 2018, there’s been a sharp rise in 2019.
Source: Public Health England
CIPHE CEO, Kevin Wellman said: “While those of us in the industry know that all man-made hot and cold water systems can provide an environment ripe for the Legionella bacteria to grow, the average consumer has no idea it can thrive in places such as hot tubs, whirlpool baths, compost heaps and even garden hoses.
“The growing popularity in domestic hot tubs and spa baths means that many families have a potential source of an outbreak within their homes and gardens. While the CIPHE is working to raise awareness that these appliances need to be correctly installed, maintained, cleaned and chlorinated, many members of the public are blissfully unaware of the dangers.
“Traditionally, outbreaks have hit commercial and industrial premises such as that associated with a Bournemouth Health Spa in June of this year. However, it is looking likely that our industry will find itself dealing with more and more domestic outbreaks like the recurring incidence at Dolphin Square, and we need to be prepared.
“There is no legislation covering domestic hot tub installations. With annual deaths caused by poor plumbing now outnumbering those caused by Carbon Monoxide poisoning, we need to address the dangers that poorly designed or maintained systems can bring. The industry needs to be equipped with the knowledge and expertise to safely deal with potential Legionella sources. It’s no surprise that poorly designed, installed and maintained systems are the most at risk.”
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