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Legionella Disease in Swimming Pools
Legionella are bacteria whose reproduction is especially favored in warm water of temperatures between 20 and 45° C. The growth of legionella is promoted by inadequate water flow, such as in water stagnation in pipes that are only seldom used. Legionella are also present on the inner linings of water pipes or on other surfaces in contact with water, so-called "biofilms". When humans inhale finely dispersed droplets, known as aerosols, containing legionella, this can trigger what is called "Pontiac fever". Its symptoms are similar to the flu. In some cases it can lead to so-called Legionnaires’ disease, a serious form of pneumonia which can be fatal if untreated.

In large and very branched-out water distribution plants, the risk of legionella settlement is higher than in detached homes since there are more low-flow niches where legionella can accumulate and proliferate. This is why legionella problems are more common in large buildings such as hospitals, hotels, swimming pools, flat blocks, industrial plants or administrative buildings.

Legionella can be found in pool water at public pools, especially if the water temperature is warmer than 23° C and the pool fittings favor the formation of aerosols. These potentially legionella-loaded aerosols are particularly conducive to infection.

NETHERLANDS: June 27, 2003

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch Government said it will introduce stricter regulations after it found that more than 40 percent of swimming pools in the Netherlands were contaminated with Legionella bacteria .The investigation also found Legionella in nine percent of the 96 hotel swimming pools that were included in the investigation.


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