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The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) reports thirteen people have probably become infected with legionella due to a central heating boiler from manufacturer Ferroli.

Two of the victims have died.

Legionella bacteria

In a statement, Ferroli warns for boilers of the BlueSense and BlueHelix types manufactured after 1 January 2022. The manufacturer calls on consumers to have their boilers cleaned because of the risk of contamination with legionella bacteria. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) has also published the warning.

The NVWA reports that since January 1, 2022, 1400 boilers of these types have been delivered by Ferroli. Since then, reports have been received at several GGDs about legionella infections that were most likely related to the boilers.

Legionella, also known as legionnaires’ disease, grows in water and can be dangerous at temperatures of 20 to 50 degrees. People who become infected can get respiratory infections and sometimes severe pneumonia.

According to the RIVM, the risk of death is between 2 and 10 percent. The elderly and people with poor health are especially at risk of pneumonia due to legionella.

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People can become infected if small water droplets with the bacteria are released into the air, for example if water in a central heating boiler stands still for too long. When people then take a shower or use a bubble bath, the water that has come out of the boiler atomizes. If that mist is inhaled, people can get sick.