Legionella, the Gram-negative bacterium that causes respiratory diseases collectively referred to as legionellosis.  Legionellosis includes Legionella pneumonia, traditionally known as Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac Fever, a self-limiting respiratory illness.  Legionnaires’ disease occurs after inhalation or aspiration of contaminated water, followed by a general incubation period of 2 to 14 days.  Legionella bacteria are not transmitted from person-to-person.

Health care facilities are included in the types of buildings that have been associated with the transmission of Legionella to people.  Cases of healthcare-associated Legionella disease often arise from exposure to Legionella bacteria in hospital potable water distribution systems.

Persons at increased risk for Legionnaire’s disease include immunocompromised [due to, for example, transplant, malignancy, renal disease, or diabetes] those over age 50, those with chronic lung disease and smokers.  However, Legionella disease cases reported in medical literature indicate the disease can also occur in seemingly healthy individuals.

Given the various factors and complexities associated with Legionnaire’s disease, 100% prevention of Legionnaire’s disease is likely not possible.  However, prevention and control practices can be implemented to reduce the risk of exposing people to Legionella in building water distribution systems.  The Legionella prevention activities involve assessing risks, monitoring water quality and implementation of commensurate engineering controls to limit the growth of Legionella.  Use of engineering controls to limit Legionella growth includes ongoing monitoring of implemented controls, validating that the control measures are effective at inhibiting Legionella growth, and modifying implementation or type[s] as necessary.  By focusing on engineering controls, horizontal intervention can improve the overall microbiological quality of facility water, not just inhibition of Legionella growth.

Legionella growth in building potable water distribution systems is primarily suppressed by the implementation of engineering controls such as maintenance of appropriate water temperatures or biocide levels.  Application of more than one control may be necessary for the successful inhibition of Legionella growth.

Incorporating Legionella aware water management programs are now industry best practice for buildings in the United States.


WTS | First Defense furnishes a full-service program including technicians, supervision, equipment, supplies, certifications, transportation, and resources necessary to perform Legionella testing.

Our company manages reporting of data and makes it capable of being easily added and tracked. All results are reported within two [2] weeks of sampling. Pricing per sample includes on-site collection, CDC Elite analysis, and report preparation.

The testing protocol includes best practices from sampling procedures, preparation, and laboratory techniques.  These techniques are well documented, standardized, and repeatable.  All water samples are collected in 250ml bottles at each location and include temperature, pH, and chlorine residual.  Samples are sent to an ELITE CDC certified lab for Legionella analysis.  All results are presented within two [2] weeks of sampling.

WTS sampling protocol will follows a standardized Method of Procedure [MoP] which provides proof of; document control, purpose, pre-requisites, safety, equipment, procedure steps with time stamp and initials for each step.

Our laboratory is a Certified CDC ELITE lab which also holds certifications in New York State where Legionella testing is law.