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Legionnaires Breaks Out in New Zealand

Posted on May 24, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse


There has been another outbreak of Legionellosis or Legionnaires’ Disease, this time in Auckland, New Zealand.

Of course, we in the US are not in danger from this particular outbreak, but the reasons Legionnaires returns again and again do not change, no matter what the country.

Legionella pneumophila is an extremely common aquatic organism which thrives in temperatures between 77 and 113 degrees. Sounds like California, huh? Because it can be found anywhere, however, it can thrive and spread disease anywhere where it is wet, especially in water systems. Legionella needs to be inhaled, but water systems are great for turning water in to vapor, like in the shower, and making it possible to breathe in the organisms.

Legionella pneumophila

Large air conditioning systems are especially at risk. When air is cooled, condensation can cause water to build up in parts of the system and if it does not dry, legionella can easily breed and spread.

The New Zealand outbreak has been linked to limescale buildup, but since the cases are widespread in the Auckland area, there may be more than one source. Limescale can cause water to collect in the water system, leading to the growth of Legionella.

All large institutions must practice proper maintenance of their water and ventilation systems to prevent Legionnaires Disease. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that there are between 8000 and 18,000 cases of Legionnaires in the US every year, with a 10% fatality rate. In New Zealand this time, so far there have been 15 confirmed cases and one death. That is one death too many when this disease is preventable.

If your water or ventilation system needs cleaning and decontamination in California, AirTek can provide these services quickly and efficiently from our highly-trained professional teams. Contact us for help preventing Legionella pneumophila from being a headline in your city.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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