A local council is warning owners of buildings used by the public to service their water and air conditioning systems before re-opening from the lockdown.
Sedgemoor District Council says businesses which have been shut due to the Coronavirus pandemic are likely to have increased levels of bacteria lying dormant in water systems, heightening the risk of people contracting Legionnaires’ disease.
“Buildings like shops, offices, hairdressers, beauty salons, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, sports centres/clubs, gyms, residential buildings as well as campsites – anywhere that has a water supply and is currently shut down – will need to check their systems,” says a spokeswoman.
“Whilst water systems in businesses may not seem to be high on the priority list during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important ensure all water systems are managed safely at this time.”
“Water systems that are not being used and maintained effectively are very likely to have increased levels of bacteria present. Experts say that it is far better to maintain a water system than to try and treat a water system which has gone out of control.”
The lung infection is a severe form of pneumonia, which people catch by inhaling droplets of water emitted by air conditioning units, shower heads or hot tubs.
The infection is not common, but its symptoms are similar to Covid-19 and include a high temperature, feverishness and chills, coughing, muscle pains, headaches and pneumonia.
You can catch it from things like: air conditioning systems; spa pools and hot tubs; showers, taps and toilets.
For information, there is plenty of help and advice on Sedgemoor District Council’s website at or phone the Environmental Health Team on 0300 303 7806 who will be happy to give further information.