Legionella Pneumophila & Legionellosis

Legionella is the genus of bacteria, which gives rise to the risk of infection from diseases, collectively known as legionellosis.

These consist of both pneumonias and non-pneumonic varieties.

The species Legionella pneumophila presents the most serious hazard, which is mainly, but not solely, responsible for causing Legionnaires' disease.

This is a pneumonia which has serious effects and is fatal in 10-12% of cases.

Natural and Artificial Water Systems

Legionella is widespread in both natural water sources and artificial water systems.

It proliferates where temperatures are favourable (20-45 oC), nutrients available and water is stagnant or recirculates.

Infection can then occur by the inhalation of aerosols or particles generated from the source.

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

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