Privacy Settings Why You Need Legionella Testing On A Cruise Ship - Aquacert
Select Page

Cruise ships provide the ideal habitat for the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease to thrive and multiply. People get infected by using the ship’s contaminated taps or showers or hot tubs. Legionella testing on a Cruise Ship is recommended in order to keep travellers and staff safe from developing Legionnaires’ disease during the voyage.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can be fatal. It can affect anybody, although certain individuals are more prone to developing the disease. This includes kids, the elderly, pregnant women and individuals with compromised respiratory systems. A person can get infected by breathing in water droplets that contain the Legionella bacteria.

There are over 50 species of the bacteria. Not all of them cause the disease. Out of the lot, the bacteria within the species of Legionella pneumophila are the most dangerous. There are other forms of the bacteria that can cause the individual to develop flu like symptoms, but not Legionnaires Disease.

Small numbers of the bacteria are found in most water sources, including mains water.  Problems only arise when legionella proliferate into large numbers. On cruise ships there are several reasons why bacteria numbers can rise:-

  • Stagnant water occurs when the ship sails with empty cabins or is in dry dock.
  • Storing water for extended periods whilst at sea.
  • High turnover of minimum wage staff can impact of preventative measures being undertaken.
  • Onboard water treatment plant failures and time lag for spares/repairs.

How you can get it inside a cruise ship

It is difficult to associate a cruise ship with Legionnaires’ disease because it takes about a week for the symptoms to develop.  Travellers often don’t get ill until they have left the ship. People become exposed to the bacteria by using showers, hot tubs or other equipment which produces an aerosol that be breathed in by the user.  Cruise ship passengers often tend to be older which automatically makes them more susceptible to contract legionnaires’ disease if the bacteria are present.

Preventing the spread of the bacteria

To prevent water from harbouring the bacteria, the staff must devise and follow a strict plan to disinfect the water on board the ship. To confirm the control measures are effective, it is good practice to regularly carry out testing for legionella bacteria.

AquaCert offers water testing kits that make it easier for staff to test the water. Each kit comes with sterile bottles that need to be filled up with samples of water taken from the ship’s taps/showers/hot tubs. A courier will come to the port, pick up the samples and deliver them to a laboratory for examination. Once the results are ready, they will be sent to the staff or individual listed on the order form.