Survival of the Legionnaires' disease bacterium in water

Ann Intern Med. 1979 Apr;90(4):662-3. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-90-4-662.


Data from this study indicate that the Legionniares' disease bacterium can survive for a relatively long period of time in water. Four strains survived in distilled water for 69 to 139 d and for 364 to 369 d in tap water. Viable cells from two strains were recovered from tap water at 408 to 415 d. There were no surviving bacteria in cooling-tower water after 24 to 48 h. The rapid die-off was probably due to bactericidal agents added to the water to control growth.

MeSH terms

  • Air Conditioning
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Humans
  • Legionnaires' Disease / microbiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Water Microbiology*