A potentially deadly disease could be lurking in your shower, a new study has found.

Researchers have taken 68 samples from showers across Adelaide and have found 75% were colonised with Legionella, the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires disease.

Flinders University microbiologist and lead author Harried Whiley says elderly residents, lung disease sufferers and heavy smokers are most at risk of contracting the disease.

‘It’s particularly significant given our increasingly ageing population when you consider the growing number of elderly residents who wish to remain in independent living so they can stay a part of their existing communities for longer,’ Dr Whiley said.

Legionnaire’s disease occurs when a person breathes in contacted water or dust. It can cause symptoms like fever, chills, shortness of breath and coughing.

In the most serious of cases, it can be fatal.

Dr Whiley went on to say that households can avoid the bacteria by ensuring ‘your hot water temperature and running showers every week to replenish the water sitting in pipes.’


A hot water temperature above 65C is recommended to kill the bacteria.

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