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

Monday, 30 March

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
IP Week Conference – Energy Industries And Climate Experts Collaborate

Environmental groups, climate change experts, and representatives from the energy industry came together to discuss the climate emergency in a three day event. At the...

 Read Full Article
What Facilities Management Can Learn From Changing Consumers And Their Digital Demands 

Aleš Špetič, Co-Founder and CEO at Klevio, shares his knowledge of “FM’s digital transformation” and how Proptech will continue to...

 Read Full Article
Vodafone Launch IoT Smart Surveillance Systems

Vodafone has launched Smart Vision, a suite of IoT smart surveillance solutions designed to enhance security and drive efficiencies for business and public sector...

 Read Full Article
Nilfisk Joins Science Based Targets Initiative

Nilfisk, the international cleaning equipment suppliers, has joined the Science Based Targets initiative and committed to reduce their carbon footprint by 35 per cent...

 Read Full Article
Mitie Commits To Plan Zero

Simon King, Mitie's new Director of Sustainability, is behind the company's “Plan Zero” commitment to reach zero carbon by 2025 –  which...

 Read Full Article