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Another legionella outbreak – how safe is your HVAC system?

Following an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in New York during the summer, which killed 12 people, another cluster in the Bronx has claimed the life of one person and sickened a dozen others.

While health officials do not believe the two outbreaks are connected (the new cluster originates over six miles from that which developed during July and August), the new spate of legionella demonstrates that the disease still represents a serious threat.

Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia and is caused by legionella bacteria that grows in warm water. Infection occurs when airborne droplets of contaminated water are inhaled. Once a person contracts Legionnaire’s disease, air sacs in the lungs become inflamed and fill with liquid, which restricts the lungs’ capacity to move oxygen to the blood and around the body.

The effects of Legionnaire’s disease are extremely serious. Symptoms include fever, coughing, chills and muscle aches and can lead to long-term health problems and even death.

The Legionnaire’s outbreaks in New York are believed to have originated from cooling towers and distributed via air-conditioning equipment. HVAC systems, if not properly checked and cleaned, are a common source of legionella bacteria. Therefore, those responsible for the health and wellbeing of building occupants have a duty to ensure a programme of regular HVAC maintenance is adhered to.

A proven solution to indoor air quality (IAQ) problems is the application of ultraviolet C (UVC) light to the internal surfaces of HVAC equipment. UVC technology was originally used in hospitals to help curb the spread of tuberculosis during the early 1900s.

Gibbons Ultraviolet Solutions, in association with BioZone Scientific International, supplies a state-of-the-art UVC cleaning solution for HVAC equipment. Called CoilCare®, this system applies UVC light to an air handling unit’s cooling coil, which removes contaminants and prevents regrowth.

This technology is suitable for almost all occupied spaces such as offices, hotels, restaurants, healthcare buildings and food production plants. The initial installed cost is low and fitting by our engineers takes just a few hours.

If you’re concerned about legionella and want to find out more about the benefits of CoilCare®, call Colin Hardman on 07940 544206 or email colin@gibbonsgroup.co.uk for expert advice.

Ultraviolet Solutions

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