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Windscreen wiper water linked to Legionnaires' disease

Published on 15/06/2010
A lack of screen wash in car windscreen wiper fluid may be the cause of 20 per cent of Legionnaires' disease cases in England and Wales, it has been claimed.

The illness, caused by the Legionella bacteria, is often transmitted via finely sprayed water, such as that form an air conditioning unit or shower, which can be inadvertently inhaled and lead to pneumonia.

However, following a study by the Health and Protection Agency (HPA), a link between the disease and windscreen wiper liquid has been made for the first time.

Researchers interviewed 75 patients in England and Wales who had recovered from the disease and compared them to a similar group of people who had never contracted Legionnaires'.

They found that driving or being a passenger in a vehicle with windscreen wiper fluid not containing added screen wash increased the risks of catching Legionnaires'.

Adding screen wash to the fluid, however, appeared to kill the bacteria and so mitigate the effect, said the report published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Between 400 and 550 cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported in England and Wales in the last couple of years, HPA figures show.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Medical
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