Legionellosis is a disease of the respiratory tract. It is infectious but not contagious. It is caused by Legionella bacteria, which are found in water and multiply at temperatures between 20 and 50 degrees Celsius. People can get very sick or even die from it when they inhale contaminated water droplets. The disease was first identified in 1976 in the US during a meeting of the US American Legion (the year that the disease got its name: Legion > Legionella). In 1999, the Netherlands was hit by one of the biggest global outbreaks since the one in the US. The Dutch outbreak killed 32 people and left 206 people severely ill.
A more recent (large) outbreak took place in the southeastern Polish city of Rzeszów. The outbreak started mid-August and killed 16 people so far and hospitalized at least 155 according to the latest reports. Local authorities have treated the city’s water supply network with chlorine, UV rays and ozone in an attempt to wipe out the infection. The source of the infection is still being investigated.
Number of outbreaks increasing
While outbreaks are regular around the world, the latest epidemiolocal data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, shows that the number of Legionella outbreaks is worryingly increasing in Europe. In the year 2021 (the latest data available), the most outbreaks were reported so far, with 4 countries (Italy, France, Spain, and Germany) accounting for 75% of all the notified cases.
It is argued that the sweltering temperatures in Europe this summer, part of a continentwide heat wave, is increasing the risk for Legionella outbreaks. Factors that may also explain increased outbreaks include changes in national testing policies and surveillance systems, an ageing EU/EEA population, and the design, infrastructure, and maintenance of water systems used in buildings.
Need for effective and safe solutions
The increase in Legionella outbreaks spurs the urgency and importance to have effective and safe disinfection solutions for water systems, both as a preventive measure as well as for use during emergency outbreaks. Often, hypochlorite is the first choice to clean and disinfect water systems. However, these products suffer from fast breakdown are corrosive and harmful to the operator using them. But there are more products on the market today, that are just as effective, but are more biodegradable, safe, and less corrosive.
Halamid® is a biocide and a reliable and fast disinfectant (oxidiser) used to combat Legionella outbreaks. This reliable product is effective, readily biodegradable, safe, noncorrosive materials and equipment. The mode of action is based on an irreversible destruction of the envelope and cell material of microorganisms. This oxidising action ensures that microorganisms are effectively killed and do not have a chance to develop resistance. It eradicates all major pathogens in one application round, while being safe for animals, humans, and the environment.
Efficacy shown in independent tests
The killing activity of Halamid® versus Legionella pneumophila has been tested according to the CEN test for the food area. The active concentration of 25ppm of Halamid® already successfully reduced Legionella bacterial load by log 5 within 5 minutes. Arno Schut, Innovation Manager at Axcentive explains: “The control of Legionella by Halamid® is guaranteed, already at low addition rates of under 100ppm. Halamid® is a broad-spectrum disinfectant used for water sanitization in farms around the globe. For many, it is the preferred disinfectant as it is effective, safe, and noncorrosive. Moreover, it has a prolonged activity and is not affected by soil, which can sometimes be present in the water. We are confident to claim that our product is more sustainable and environmentally friendly than many competitor materials.”
Halamid® ticks all these boxes and meets the European guidelines for effective Legionella control. A dosage of 100 ppm solution is effective with a contact time of 24 hours, and a 400-ppm solution is effective within 1 hour. The high inclusion rate of Halamid® is recommended for curative measures (during outbreaks). “Legionella is a serious public health issue, and again on the radar with the latest outbreak in Poland. With our products we want to contribute to healthy animals, humans, and environment,” Schut concludes.