Legionella is a rod-shaped bacteria found in water.
It flourishes in conditions where temperatures are between 20 - 45°C and nutrients are available.
Man-made systems can provide an ideal environment for the bacteria to multiply.
People can catch Legionnaires’ disease by breathing in tiny droplets of water which contain the bacteria.
The common causes of Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks are hot and cold water systems, spas, fountains, swimming pools and shower heads. Natural sources include freshwater ponds, rivers, lakes and streams.
Legionella disease typically presents as pneumonia and symptoms may include a high fever, chills, coughs, muscle aches, headaches, and diarrhoea.
The disease is potentially fatal and everyone is susceptible to infection. The elderly, smokers, alcoholics and people with cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory or kidney disease are most at risk.