Legionella is a bacteria found in water that can cause Legionnaires’ disease – a severe pneumonia infection – or Pontiac fever, also known as legionellosis, according to the CDC. An estimated 10,000 to 18,000 people are infected annually in the United States, according to the Legionella.org, but it is rarer in the UK, with most infections transmitted in travel, according the National Health Service.

The legionella bacterium spreads through inhalation of contaminated water droplets. It cannot be spread person to person and does not lead to infection in all cases of exposure. While it is found naturally in fresh water, exposure can cause illness. It grows best in warm water, particularly cooling towers used in air-conditioning units for large buildings.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are typically flu-like, including a persistent cough, fatigue, high fever (39.5°C or 103°F), headaches or muscle pain. Legionnaires’ disease requires antibiotics, and most cases are treated with few complications. However, hospitalization is common. Complications can stem from pre-existing conditions, and may result in lung failure or even death.

Maintaining a clean and safe water supply and following proper food-safety procedures are the keys to avoiding infection. The BioCote Antimicrobial Protection technology on temperature measurement instruments from Comark, including the Pocket Thermometer, C20 Food Thermometer and EVt Data Loggers, reduces hygiene risks that may lead to Legionella contamination.

BioCote inhibits growth of micro-organisms on the instrument or probe handle, and results in an average reduction of nearly 93 percent in surface microbe levels. It provides a second line of defense for existing hygiene procedures, and can play an integral role in reducing the risk of spreading harmful organisms like Legionella.

For more information on how Comark products help ensure food safety, contact us.