A couple of months back, quite some people from a corporate company complained about a recurrent cough, fever, muscle aches, while some complained about diarrhoea and shortness of breath. Previously, the culprit was assumed to be the changing weather conditions and the cold wave that hit post that. Somehow, the Facility Manager identified a pattern, to which he thought testing would be the best solution. After a brief consultation with Corporate Safety Consultant, the FM went ahead with Legionella Test.
And the culprit was identified.
Needless to say, it was Legionella pneumonia.
The people were showing the symptoms of Legionnaire’s disease!
Before you frantically jump up the seat and panic over the water you drink, wait. Cause, that might not be the actual way your teammates (or, YOU!) are suffering from Legionnaire’s disease.
What is Legionnaire’s Disease?
Legionnaire’s Disease is a non-communicable, commonly attributed to the list of Occupational Diseases/Hazards that employees contract post long-term exposure. This commonly affects the immunologically weak, one with pre-existing disorder of the liver, kidney, diabetes, cancer or people from the age group of 35 – 50 – depending upon the severity of the microbes found in the water systems.
Caused by the microorganism Legionella pneumonia, not always are the symptoms seen. However, the most common types of symptoms (apart from the ones mentioned above) can be headaches, pain in the chest, decreased immune system, etc.
Why is Legionnaire’s Disease a big concern?
The disease affects the working population, damaging the overall operational process of the company. Though curable with the use of antibiotics, it takes a toll on –
1. Health of the employee
2. Performance of an Individual/Team
3. Inability to deliver the said tasks and meet goals
4. Decrease in the annual turnover of the company
5. Hampered brand equity
6. Eventually, high attrition rates/layoffs/business shut down
How does Legionnaire’s Disease spread in a corporate company?
Legionnaire’s disease spreads through water systems like cooling towers and air-conditioning systems in the form of mists or aerosols that are inhaled by people. Non-communicable in nature, here are various ways through which the disease can be contracted –
1. Showers and Faucets
2. Cooling towers (used in large buildings for cooling)
3. Hot tubs, fountains and water features that are not cleaned regularly
4. Plumbing systems
Once the micro-organisms grow in the water systems, the contaminated water in aerosol form, when inhaled, causes Legionnaire’s disease. The organisms affect the lungs and cause difficulties in swallowing. Hence, starts the symptoms and the effects of the disease. It is generally considered critical to the health of the person and some people may even contract Pontiac Fever.
What are the Preventive Measures?
Water maintenance is an important part, considering it is not the drinking water, but a different form that becomes the medium. Building owners, Facility Managers are particularly entrusted with the responsibility for people’s safety at the workplace, something that is covered under the Occupational Health and Safety.
The UK and few other developed nations have a clear directive mentioned under the Health and Safety at Work Act, which clearly defines the measures needed to be taken. Considering this, it is important to understand the need for Legionella Test – the first step towards preventing the mass contraction of Legionnaire’s Disease.
How will Legionella Test help?
Only with the identification, can you work towards the preventive measures against Legionnaire’s disease. Depending on the severity of the level of micro-organism contamination, the maintenance, use of better quality water, using new faucets and pipeline, as well as their quality check.
A Legionella Test can help save an employee’s health, along with saving time, money and brand of the company.
Have you seen some of the above symptoms at your workplace? Or, are you one among the many others who are suffering from symptoms that you think can be Legionnaire’s Disease?
Wondering whether you need a Legionella Test?
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