Legionnaires' Disease - Where Does It Come From?

The bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease is widespread in nature. It mainly lives in water, for example ponds, where it does not usually cause problems.

Outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease occur from purpose-built water systems where temperatures are warm enough to encourage growth of the bacteria, e.g. in cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpool spas (tradename Jaccuzi) and from water used for domestic purposes in buildings such as hotels, hospitals, schools, offices etc.

Cooling Towers & Evaporative Condensers

Most community outbreaks in the UK have been linked to installations such as cooling towers or evaporative condensers, which can spread droplets of water over a wide area.

These are found as part of air-conditioning and industrial cooling systems.

Updated 13.1.04 - Parts of this document © Crown Copyright 2004 - originally produced and published by the UK's Health & Safety Executive.

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