Wednesday 23 June 2010

Good Garage Scheme strongly advises using windscreen wash to avoid risk of Legionnaire’s disease

Motorists who do not use screen wash for their windscreen wipers risk getting potentially deadly Legionnaires' disease, a study revealed last week.

The Health Protection Agency reported that contaminated water in car windscreen sprays could be behind 20 per cent of cases of Legionnaire’s disease in England and Wales. Stagnant warm water is said to be a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria, but by simply using screen wash you could drastically decrease the risk of infection.

During the study, traces of the Legionella Bacterium were found in one in five cars that did not use screen wash, but no traces were found in cars that did. Researchers have warned that professional drivers are five times more likely to be effected, including van drivers, anyone who travels through industrial areas and those who drive with the car window open.

The infection is spread through breathing in bacteria contaminated air, usually traced to water aerosol systems such as windscreen spray and air-con. When the water is sprayed over the windscreen it is likely some fine mist would be sucked into the passenger compartment. Unused air-con systems can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, pollen and fungi and release millions of microorganisms into the small space when turned on.

Whilst more research is needed into the link between windscreen water and legionnaire’s disease, we strongly advise using screen wash to stop the growth of bacteria and taking your car for a Holiday Check with your local Good Garage Scheme member to ensure your car is a safe environment to drive in.

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