EAST Lancashire council bosses are warning shop and business bosses to take precautions to stop Legionnaire’s Disease spreading as they open after the coronavirus lockdown.

The bacteria legionella which causes the potentially fatal respiratory disease breeds in water systems, especially when they are out of use.

Now Cllr Jim Smith, Blackburn with Darwen’s Council’s environment boss, and Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member of health Cllr Shaun Turner have joined Pendle Council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal in warning of the danger of Legionnaire’s Disease.

Most shops are expected to reopen in the middle of this month.

They want businesses to thoroughly check their water systems and maintain hot water temperatures of at least 60 degrees Cenitgrade in storage cylinders and above 50ºC through the distribution system. Cold water should be below 20ºC.

This is because Legionella bacteria will multiply when the water temperature is between 20ºC and 45ºC.

Cllr Smith, said: “Many businesses will now be gearing up to return to socially-distant safe operations when the Government rules allow them to do so. We ask they consider the potential risks of legionella in water systems that have been unused for a prolonged period of time during the lockdown. Advice and guidance on how to best manage the risks is available via United Utilities and we will be promoting advice on this issue through all of our available channels.”

Cllr Turner said: “Legionnaires’ Disease can be fatal.

“It is caused by legionella bacteria that can build up in certain water systems. It’s vital that these are regularly tested and well-maintained, even while businesses are closed.

“It’s absolutely essential that businesses follow the advice given by their district council environmental health team to reduce the risks of an outbreak.”

Oswaldtwistle County Councillor Peter Britcliffe said: “I think this is really important.. The last thing we need is an outbreak of legionella on top of coronavirus

“I am pleased our local authorities are advising businesses how to keep this other respiratory disease at bay.”

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council, said: “The risk of infection is much greater when businesses close for a number of weeks.

“It’s essential that additional controls are put into place before any water systems are used again.”