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What is Legionella Bacteria?

Legionella is a bacteria found in both potable and nonpotable water systems that is the cause of Legionnaires’ disease and proliferates rapidly in warm water environments. Although the number of cases reported each year in the United States is comparatively low, this is a serious and potentially fatal illness. It is particularly dangerous because of how it spreads.

Legionella in water is only harmful if it is inhaled as mist, steam or vapor. However, a contaminated source has the potential to infect a large group of people. Many outbreaks have been traced to hotels and other places where groups congregate. For example, outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease from air conditioning units infested with the bacteria have been reported. When it comes to preventing Legionnaire’s Disease, water treatment is crucial.

Understanding Legionnaire’s Disease

The first recorded instance of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease was in 1976. More than 180 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia fell ill with a previously unknown form of pneumonia. Of those who became sick, 29 died. Not long after this, the Legionella bacteria was identified.

The most common symptoms of Legionnaire’s Disease are respiratory, including coughing and chest pain. In addition, patients may experience a fever, chills, confusion, loss of appetite and nausea. These typically appear within two to 10 days of exposure to the pathogen. Older people have the highest risk of contracting the disease, along with those who are immunocompromised or suffer from chronic lung disease. Treatment usually involves a regimen of antibiotics.

Preventing an Outbreak

Understanding what causes Legionella in water is critical to protecting your property from an outbreak. Like any microorganism, the Legionella bacterium requires the right conditions to flourish. It survives by feeding on a biofilm that can build up on the inside of pipes and other plumbing components. The longer water sits in pipes without moving, the greater the chances that the bacteria will be able to thrive on this biofilm.

It’s also important to note that warmer temperatures provide the bacterium with ideal conditions to spread. Typically, water that is between the 77 and 114 degrees is the most hospitable environment. On top of that, plumbing that does not receive proper disinfection or suffers from lower corrosion resistance could also encourage the development of Legionella. LiquiTech’s advanced copper silver ionization system attacks Legionella’s ability to absorb nutrients, so it doesn’t have a chance to proliferate.

At the same time, it is critical to maintain and clean your equipment in order to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease from a cooling tower, say, or any other water source. In terms of the fight against Legionella, water treatment is a crucial weapon.

Unlike alternative treatments for Legionnaire’s in a water supply that suppress its spread, our technology effectively kills the bacteria. The process involves inserting positively charged copper and silver ions directly into the contaminated pipes. There, the ions form electrostatic bonds with negatively charged sites on the microorganisms’ cell walls. These connections stress the cells to the point where they are no longer able to absorb the biofilm. Without the food source, the pathogen quickly perishes.

Since this system requires no chemicals and creates no harmful byproducts, it is considered the safest and eco-friendliest solution to prevent an outbreak of Legionella. The process is not dependent on water temperature, so it can be used throughout your building without losing potency. Best of all, there are no corrosive effects, so it won’t damage your plumbing. For all of these reasons and more, trust LiquiTech to protect you and your organization against Legionella infestations.

We provide the best way to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease from a water heater or any other source within your property. If you need to control an emergency Legionella outbreak, we also offer fast, response services.

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70% of all Water Systems are Contaminated with Legionella

Legionella can only infect individuals when it is has been inhaled in mist, steam, or vapor that has been contaminated with the bacteria, but the disease is not contagious once it has been contracted.

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1 in 4 Legionella Cases Result in Death

Legionnaires' disease, the resulting condition of being affected by Legionella, is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia that affects up to an estimated 18,000 people in the United States each year.

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Drinking/Potable Water Systems are Accountable for 99% of Legionella Risk

In order to cause harm to an individual infected water must be aspirated or inhaled, so look to sources such as cooling towers, showers, sinks, humidifiers, misters, fountains, ice machines, whirlpools, etc.

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Test your Water

The only way to truly determine risk for a facility is to conduct routine Legionella water testing.

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There has been a 550% increase in reported Legionella cases since 2000 as reported by the CDC.


Copper Silver Ionization is proven to be one of the most effective technologies for controlling and preventing Legionella in water systems.

Do you know the facts?

Scientists named Legionella after an outbreak occurred at the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia in 1976

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