Legionella Risk Management and Control in Potable Water Systems: Argument for the Abolishment of Routine Testing

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Legionella is an opportunistic pathogen of public health significance. One of the main sources of Legionella is potable water systems. As a consequence of aging populations there is an increasing demographic considered at high risk for Legionellosis and, as such, a review of the guidelines is required. Worldwide, Legionella has been detected from many potable water sources, suggesting it is ubiquitous in this environment. Previous studies have identified the limitations of the current standard method for Legionella detection and the high possibility of it returning both false negative and false positive results. There is also huge variability in Legionella test results for the same water sample when conducted at different laboratories. However, many guidelines still recommend the testing of water systems. This commentary argues for the removal of routine Legionella monitoring from all water distribution guidelines. This procedure is financially consuming and false negatives may result in managers being over-confident with a system or a control mechanism. Instead, the presence of the pathogen should be assumed and focus spent on managing appropriate control measures and protecting high-risk population groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number14
    Pages (from-to)Art: 12
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


    • Guidelines
    • L. pneumophila
    • Legionella
    • Legionnaires disease
    • Monitoring
    • Potable water
    • Risk assessment
    • Risk management
    • Water distribution systems


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