How do people catch legionnaires' disease?

Legionnaires' disease can be caught by inhaling droplets of water in the air which contain the legionella bacteria but most people who are exposed to legionella do not get ill. You can't catch legionnaires' disease from other people.

The bacteria thac causes legionella is quite common in nature where it lives mainly in water. Problems only tend to happen when purpose built water systems like cooling towers and evaporative condensors are warm enough to allow the growth of the bacteria. These problems are enhanced if the water systems distribute water droplets over a wide area - such as the installations used in some air conditioning units or industrial cooling systems.

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