Why prioritising health and preventing Legionella is of the utmost importance for hotels

Legionella bacteria – It is very well known that the United Kingdom hospitality industry and especially the hotel industry prides itself on excellence when it comes to customer service and provision of comfortable as well as safe facilities and accommodation. For several London based hotels, predominantly from the luxury end of the market, the competition is rather fierce and the quality of the water services can actually have an impact on their success.

Legionella bacteria
Legionella bacteria

Safe and clean domestic water and crystal clear pools, water features as well as spa baths for instance support a hotel’s positive reputation. While poor management of the water services can easily damage the reputation of a hotel.

It is accepted and well known that Legionella can colonise the water system of a hotel very rapidly and at numbers that will definitely increase the risk of infection when poorly managed.

The nature of hotel accommodation means that in sports venues and some leisure facilities, the usage is seasonal with periods of very low water usage and periods of high water usage. This issue of fluctuation in water usage is in sync with tourism’s low and high seasons. This results in sporadically low water turnover and stagnation from time to time.

Hotels also have the problem of some rooms and suits being easier to rent than others. This means that in pretty much all hotels you will usually get a few rooms that only ever get occupied by guests when the hotel is operating near the 100% capacity.

Again, this kind of intermittent usage can considerably increase the risks associated with Legionella for hotels, hostels and B&B’s.

Due to the nature of these premises, occupants will often be exposed to aerosol water droplets when utilising the showers in the rooms and communal areas. The requirements, regulations and enforcement of risk assessment for these premises will be relatively well policed.

If you require a Legionella risk assessment or routine water management programme to cover your hotel chain or boutique hotel, go ahead and give a call to a professional expert that can help you with the task.

The first Legionella outbreak in a hotel

Legionnaires’ disease, the disease caused by Legionella bacteria, was first identified when the American Legion met to attend its annual 3-day convention in July 21st 1976. The convention took place in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Pennsylvania, United States. More than two thousand Legionaires attended the convention.

As a result, over a hundred individuals were infected with nearly forty of those individuals eventually dying. Thus, the disease was given the name Legionnaires’ disease. Since this initial outbreak our understanding of Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease has improved considerably to the point where these kinds of large outbreaks are becoming very rare.

This is especially true for outbreaks from air conditioning systems and also cooling towers. However, this is because of the strict regulations put on managing such items in the United Kingdom.

Small Bathroom Makeover

Nonetheless, since initial outbreaks and robust guidance on managing these risks in air conditioning systems and cooling towers, an individual is now considered to be 3 times more likely to contract Legionnaires disease from a regular domestic water supply than a cooling tower or air conditioning system.

Understanding Legionella helps with prevention

Legionella is a bacteria that can be found in freshwater sources, such as lakes and rivers, where the bacteria usually are present in very low amounts and do not lead to disease. But Legionella can multiply to truly dangerous levels under certain circumstances and potentially cause something called Legionnaires’ disease, or also known as Legionellosis. People can contract this disease by inhaling small droplets of contaminated water through vapor or mist.

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Article Author Details

Sarah Williams