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Legionella disease
 

2What is legionella disease?2 Legionella disease is a respiratory infection caused by aerobic bacteria called legionella, which proliferate between 25°C and 45°C.

There are two sorts of infections potentially caused by legionella:

  • benign infection called Pontiac fever, which goes away without treatment after 2 to 5 days. These cases are rarely diagnosed as legionella disease;
  • serious lung infection, characterised by acute pneumonitis (pulmonary infection) leading to death in just over 15% of the cases, called legionnaire’s or legionella disease. It has been a compulsory notifiable disease since 1987.
    This disease is not contagious.

In both forms, the disease is contracted by inhaling fine water droplets or aerosols (size < 5 µm) containing legionella.

1,527 cases were reported in 2005. 2Development sources2 The main sources of legionella are:

  • Air cooling towers;
  • Humidifying systems (air humidifiers, sprays)
  • Domestic hot water networks, showers.

Legislation

Decree no. 2004-1331 of 1st December 2004 modifying the nomenclature of classified installations and creating section 2921 relative to cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream
Ministerial order of 13 December 2004 applicable to permit holding cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream (section 2921). (Updated 4 January 2005)
Ministerial order of 13 December 2004 applicable to cooling installations with a declaration obligation dispersing water into an air stream (section 2921). (Updated 7 February 2005)
Circular of 8 December 2005 on the application of ministerial orders of 13 December 2004 relative to cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream
Circular of 28 September 2006 “Compensatory measures in case of the technical or economic impossibility of performing the annual shutdown of the installation for cleaning and disinfection purposes”
Circular no. DGS/DPPR/DGSNR/DRT/2006/213 of 15 May 2006 relative to State services’ organisation procedures in case of an outbreak of legionella disease
Ministerial order of 09/11/2005 certifying bodies to monitor cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream
Ministerial order of 07/06/2006 certifying bodies to monitor cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream