The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Friday, 21 February

Global Warming Could Fuel Legionnaires’ Disease Cases

Global Warming Could Fuel Legionnaires’ Disease Cases

Britain is facing a huge increase in Legionnaires’ disease fuelled by climate change, two water hygiene experts have warned.

Water hygiene engineer Joe Finn and technology expert Florin Mangu, whose company Remote Tech develops smart systems to monitor the risk of legionella, believe climate change represents a potential increasing hazard.

The potentially fatal illness is spread via the legionella bacteria, which thrives within a specific temperature range in water systems.


"Legionella thrives within a warm range of temperatures, so the latest climate change figures make grim reading."

– Joe Finn

Technology Expert, Remote Tech


Time bomb


"We have seen a huge increase in confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease," continued Finn. "If this continues, we face a potential time bomb, with the threat to public health likely to escalate. It's a particularly nasty form of pneumonia, with the young and elderly among those most at risk."




Met Office figures published in January 2020 show that the previous decade was the second hottest of the last 100 years. Meanwhile, according to Finn, confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the UK over a similar period increased by over 40%.

The UK experienced its highest ever temperature last year when 38.7 degrees C was recorded in Cambridge on July 25th. Three other records were set across the UK: these included the hottest ever days in the months of February and December, plus the highest daily minimum in February.

"There are similar trends across Europe, where The Institute for Hygiene and Public Health at University Clinic Bonn recently stated that climate change is likely to be contributing to an increase in pneumonia caused by legionella," said Finn.




Legionella can survive within a temperature range broadly between 20 and 50 degrees C – and proliferate in just 24 hours if water temperatures are around 37.5 degrees C. If inhaled into the lungs via water droplets, it causes Legionnaires’ disease. During a major outbreak, around 10% of cases can be fatal.


Remote testing


Traditionally, water systems in public buildings have been subject to monthly temperature tests, which are taken manually. However, Remote Tech has developed a smart sensor that uses 'internet of things' technology to remotely monitor water systems for risk of legionella.

When temperatures are normal the sensor remains on standby, hence saving on battery power. However, if temperatures change, it awakes and sends an alert.

According to Finn and Mangu, the device removes the need for regular site visits, hence reducing carbon footprints. It is currently undergoing extensive trials in conjunction with a number of large institutions and commercial companies.

Remote Tech CEO Florin Mangu said: "Our sensor is the first of its kind to be specifically designed for legionella. It enables temperatures to be monitored in real-time in order to keep the public safe."


Picture: The pneumonia bacterium.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer


Related Articles

Implications Of Omitting Carbon Emissions From Part L

The world’s largest electric heating manufacturer is calling for carbon emissions targets to remain a core component within the amended government building...

 Read Full Article
Chiller Is Set In For Standard

ICBC Standard Bank recently saw a contract to replace a key chiller concluded at the world’s largest banking group' UK HQ in the City of London. The HQ is in...

 Read Full Article
Music To The Ears - A Window on Big Buildings & Refubs

London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room have reopened; Argent and BAM will work on a building so large it has its own postcode; and UCL has had its windows...

 Read Full Article
Filtering Out The Filter Disposal Conundrum

Health, safety and energy efficiency are influences on the ventilation and air conditioning market, writes Richard Betts of RABScreen. This has, in turn, encouraged...

 Read Full Article
Kigali Signals Death Knell for Hydrofluorocarbons

The European Union has welcomed the Kigali (Rwanda) agreement on a global phase-down of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs). These manmade substances which...

 Read Full Article
Interserve And E.ON Awarded Accolade For Cup Plan

Interserve and E.ON have been awarded an Oceansaver Accolade for their plan to remove more than 1,300,000 single-use plastic cups from E.ON sites and replace them...

 Read Full Article
Flood Risk Checklist Essential For Business Planning

Do you know if your business is at risk from flooding? If it is, then you need to create a business flood plan - and perhaps start looking at products that can protect...

 Read Full Article
CIBSE 2020 Awards Highlight Regeneration

A new focus on renovation and renewal emerged at CIBSE’s Building Performance Awards held on Wednesday 12 February. Building performance achievements in existing...

 Read Full Article
Greenest Building In London Gets The Green Light

Citicape House, featuring Europe's largest living wall has been approved by the City of London.  Under the plans, the project will be developed into a new...

 Read Full Article
Net-Zero 2040 – What Exactly Are Sainsbury's Doing?

Following news of Sainsbury’s £1 billion commitment to become net-zero by 2040, programmes will be implemented across the Sainsbury’s business...

 Read Full Article