Legionella: risks and prevention

Legionella: risks and prevention

In these days, the anti adulteration unit of Carabinieri of Trento have reported eight owners of three accommodations of the Paganella Upland for negligent manslaughter, after three episode which took to death out of 19 infected people, caused by legionella.
The facts date back to 2018 and the investigations showed that in the water networks of the three hotels serious traces of the bacterium responsible for the disease were found. The three structures had not filled the risk assessment document, mandatory since 2015.
Among the causes of the presence of legionella, the lack of maintenance and incorrect management of the plants.


Legionella is a dangerous disease for humans. It enters through the first mucous membranes of the respiratory tract through the inhalation of contaminated aerosol. The responsible bacteria are more than 70, all belonging to the genus Legionella spp; the various serotypes have different severities. They all develop in the same conditions, the stagnation of water from the thermal-sanitary systems of buildings.
The points of greatest proliferation are storage tanks, taps, showers and air conditioning systems. Legionella need a temperature between 25° C. and 42° C.

Legionella takes its name because its bacterium was isolated for the first time in 1977 after 221 ex-soldiers of the American Legion presented symptoms of pneumonia during a meeting  in Philadelphia, caused by the Legionella. The incubation time of this pathology is very rapid, from 2 to 10 days, presenting a symptomatology similar to pneumonia that in sensitive patients can lead to death.

Prevention is fundamental and is based on the correct design and construction of plants that use water (hydro-sanitary, conditioning, thermal water plants, swimming pools and fountains), their maintenance and continuous disinfection.
Disinfection techniques are many, from the use of appropriate filters and UVC lamps for thermal-sanitary systems, to chlorination for swimming pools and fountains.


A further demonstration of how important the process of water treatment is in public and private facilities.

In designing its fountains, Forme d’Acqua always takes care to prepare an adequate filtration system to purify the water with suitable chemical elements.
In particular chlorine which eliminates pathogens, bacteria, viruses and algae, and sulfuric acid which helps the function of chlorine by regulating the PH values of water. Sulfuric acid also prevents the formation of limescale which, accumulating, creates problems for the pipes and the mechanical parts of the fountain.

Water treatment is therefore essential for the well functioning of the fountain, for its aesthetic value, but also for a sanitary and hygienic factor.

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Susanna Dei Rossi

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