Water cylinder warning after Nelson Bays family develops rash after showering

Legionella bacteria can thrive in water below 60degC.
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Legionella bacteria can thrive in water below 60degC.

People are being urged to ensure their hot water cylinders are set at 60 degrees Celsius after one Nelson Bays family found themselves covered in a rash after showering.

In a report, Tasman District Council utilities manager Mike Schruer says the council received a complaint from a family who noted that after showering, their bodies were covered in a rash. They suspected the water supply was to blame.

"Further investigation revealed that their hot water cylinder was set to the minimum temperature resulting in a breeding ground for various bacteria, which was the most likely source of the contamination causing a rash," Schruer says.

"Increasing the temperature to the recommended range appears to have remedied the problem."

READ MORE:
Legionnaires disease from hot water cylinder results in amputations

Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr Andrew Lindsay said hot water cylinders should be set to 60degC.

"Legionella is the main bacteria of concern in hot water systems," Lindsay said.

"Legionella bacteria have an optimum growth range in warm water temperatures of 20-45degC. Keeping water cylinders set to hot temperatures of 60degC or above ensures that any Legionella bacteria that have entered a cylinder in cool water do not have a chance to thrive."

People could become infected when inhaling water mist, such as when showering, and develop Legionellosis disease.

The Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service was not aware of the family Schruer referred to nor of similar situations, Lindsay said.

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He added that a tempering valve should be used to lower the water temperature at taps to reduce the risk of scalding.

In 2015, two people in Hawke's Bay contracted Legionnaires disease from water in their own homes. One person was so badly afflicted, she had to have her feet amputated.

Hawke's Bay District Health Board at the time warned people against turning down their hot water cylinders to save money.

 

 - Stuff

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