Pandemic problem: Empty office buildings may be a bacterial breeding ground

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The pandemic is causing some unintended health risks for people returning to empty buildings. Many people are working from home. St. Louis County warns that stagnant water in empty office buildings may be a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes the pneumonia-type illness called Legionnaires’ disease.

The St. Louis County Department of Public says that water quality could be compromised if it sits in building plumbing systems for an extended period of time. This can lead to sediment buildup, bacterial growth, and mechanical problems. Bacteria may thrive in conditions where water filters, softeners, plumbing fixtures, and hot water heaters have not been in regular use.

They recommend flushing water through a building’s plumbing system if it has not been circulating lately. St. Louis County says that Legionella, a pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious and life-threatening diseases, thrives in stagnant water.

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