Legionella colonisation in hot water systems in care homes from two Danish municipalities: Legionella in Danish care homes

Niss Skov Nielsen, Søren Anker Uldum

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Abstract

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious health risk among the elderly. Water systems in care homes are therefore of particular interest. We investigated the levels of Legionella in the hot water systems in care homes in two Danish municipalities. 268 water samples from 98 care homes were evaluated. Mean and median values of cultivable Legionella counts were calculated, and correlations between temperature and colony-forming units (CFU) were analysed. 77%–81% of the care homes were colonised with Legionella. Most care homes had less than 1,000 CFU/L, but 13%–16% had more than 10,000 CFU/L. When including first flush samples, 27% of the care homes in Municipality 1 had Legionella levels above 10,000 CFU/L. Temperatures of ≥ 50°Celsius in Municipality 1 and ≥ 55°Celsius in Municipality 2 correlated with low levels of Legionella in their hot water systems. The content of Legionella colonies was significantly higher in care homes in Municipality 1. However, a significantly higher proportion of taps in Municipality 2 had Legionella colonies compared to Municipality 1. In conclusion, temperatures should be raised to 55°Celsius to avoid high Legionella levels. Test procedures should be evaluated and regular use of taps and routine testing for Legionella should be taken into consideration.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
ArtikelnummerJWH-D-22-00116R1
TidsskriftJournal of Water and Health
Vol/bind20
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1393-1404
Antal sider12
ISSN1477-8920
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 sep. 2022

Emneord

  • Colonisation rate
  • Elderly
  • Health risk
  • Legionnaires' disease
  • Remedial actions
  • Risk factors
  • Water temperature

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