Could car washes in the UK harbour Legionnaires’ disease?

A medical expert who advises the Department of Health has warned that car washes in the UK could harbour Legionnaires’ disease.

The warning came after a study found two men became seriously ill with Legionnaires’ disease after inhaling infected water droplets from separate car washes in Italy.

According to UK microbiologist Dr Tom Makin the same risk applies in the UK.

He told MailOnline: “Legionella bacteria grow in large numbers in water systems that get warm and remain idle for extensive periods of time, such as drive-through car wash systems.

“Car washes are capable of generating the right sized aerosols that can be inhaled into the lungs where the Legionella bacteria cause infection, such as pneumonia.”

Legionnaires’ disease affects around 500 people a year in England alone and is fatal in approximately one in 10 cases.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, employers should understand the health risks associated with legionella, and take appropriate precautions.

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