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Deadly Legionella bug lurking in 1.5 Million British homes

Research reveals up to 1.5 million households in the UK could be harbouring the potentially fatal legionella organism. The bug causes legionnaire’s disease, which can lead to life-threatening pneumonia and organ failure.

 

Showers in homes across Britain are contaminated with a deadly bug that kills dozens of people every year, Government experts warn.

 

Sufferers are infected when they inhale tiny airborne droplets of bacteria-ridden water.

 

The deadly disease is usually linked with large buildings – such as hotels and office blocks – with complex water systems where the bacteria can spread easily.

 

But scientists at Public Health England (PHE) have found that the killer organism is on the increase in domestic homes. Experts fear household showers may be to blame for hundreds of cases each year where the source of infection cannot be identified.

 

The bug thrives in stagnant water above 20C. Showers, taps and wash basins can become contaminated if they are not used for a few days. Even garden hosepipes can harbour the bug if they are left filled with cold water that heats up to the right temperature in the sun.

 

Microbiologist Dr Tom Makin urged homeowners returning from holiday to ‘flush out’ showers for several minutes. He added: ‘Hold your breath, turn the shower on and leave the bathroom. And don’t go back in for a while as contaminated droplets can remain airborne for up to 30 minutes.’

 

Source: The Mail On Sunday

By Pat Hagan

PUBLISHED: 22:54, 3 June 2017