Legionellosis or Legionnaire's disease is caused by a common Legionella bacteria, which live in the environment, especially in soil, muds and water. 

People can get legionella after inhaling mist or spray from water containing legionella bacteria, or from inhaling dust from soil containing legionella bacteria.

It is a lung condition with similar symptoms to pneumonia, including: coughing, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches and headaches. 

There are some things you can do to minimise the risk from getting legionella: ensure your hot water cylinder is maintained at 60 degrees (mixing valves are the best way to ensure a safe water temperature at the tap) and take care when dealing with potting mix, soil or dirt. Read the warning labels and wear gloves and a dust mask over your face. 

Last updated 23 May 2017.