Water Worlds

Image of pond found at Wikipedia.orgWater is the major natural reservoir for Legionella pneumophila although they can survive in other environments such soil as well. The bacteria are found in many different naturalImage of fountain found at Wikipedia.org and artificial aquatic environments with ranges of various environmental conditions. They occupy natural environments such as ponds, slow-flowing creeks, hot springs, and stagnant lakes. In addition, they have been known to reside in home, hotel, ship and factory water systems, cooling towers, respiratory therapy equipment, fountains, mistingImage of stream found at Wikipedia.org devices, spa tools, hot tubs, drinking water supplies, showerheads, and others. The source of Legionella pneumophila in the case of the investigation of the Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak turned out to be the actualImage of drinking water found at Wikipedia.org water in the hotel. (See Bicentennial Bacteria for more information!)

Their affinity for hot-water tanks or thermally polluted rivers shows just how important water temperature is in regards to the colonization of this particular species.  Legionella pneumophila hasImage of hot spring found at Wikipedia.org demonstrated that it can withstand temperatures of 50 C (122F ) for several hours.  However, it doesn’t multiply below 20 C (68F), but remains dormant. (Therefore, in anImage of steam found at Wikipedia.org effort to prevent Legionella infections, it is recommended that cold water ideally be stored below 20 C (68F).  

Biofilms, which are mixtures of bacteria, protozoa and other microorganisms present in water that adhere to an object submerged in water, mayImage of cooling tower found at Wikipedia.org serve as a natural habitat and reservoir for Legionella pneumophila in many artificial water environments.

Legionella Pneumophila is an inhabitant allImage of pipes from heating system found at Wikipedia.org over the globe.  However, the ecological niches that support this organism, such as complex water systems, aren’t as common in developing countries.  This results in a lower frequency of Legionella pneumophila infections in these nations.  But it is believed that the difference in the rates of infection is probably more strongly linked to theImage of hot tub found at Wikipedia.org variances in definitions and data                               presentation as well as a deficiency in diagnosis methods and surveillance systems.

For information about factors besides water that are vital to this species, visit the Sustenance Supplies page!