Legionella refers to a group of bacteria that includes at least 50 species and can be found in many kinds of environments and are especially prominent in aquatic systems. These bacteria thrive in warm water, like the type found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, or parts of the air-conditioning systems of large buildings.
The danger of Legionella is not in drinking water that has been contaminated. The risk revolves around its being aerosolized or being carried by the air and then inhaled. Inhalation of Legionella bacteria can cause a certain type of pneumonia called Legionnaires disease.
People who suffer from Legionnaires diseases will suffer from high fever, chills and cough. Tiredness, muscle and headaches, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, vomiting and diarrhea are other symptoms of the disease. If left untreated, the condition can be fatal.
Chlorination of water is one of the most effective treatments for Legionella contamination. Water treatment method involves adding chlorine to the water. However, many concerns have risen regarding this method. Residue from chlorine reacting with naturally-occurring minerals in the water can be dangerous to the health.
A more effective method involves chlorination and subsequent water filtration process that removes the chlorine before the water is used.