More must be done to prevent legionella outbreaks, according to heating supplier and installation company REM.

There are approximately 350 cases of legionella in England and Wales every year, with a recent outbreak in Scotland  causing the deaths of two people.]]>

While legionella bacteria is mostly harmless in its normal environment, outdated water systems where water is not heated to the correct temperatures can allow the bacteria to multiply in large numbers, causing dangerous outbreaks.

"Legionella bacteria is already in the water system," said Kerr. "It's when you put it into the water tank in your house that the problem arises. There is increasing evidence that outdated hot water and heating systems are making us ill."

REM believes that the only answer is for water systems to allow fresh water to be heated directly from the mains. Water should be heated to a temperature sufficient to kill the bacteria before use, so that it cannot multiply to unsafe levels. Such systems also make the best use of energy as they only heat the water being used, rather than constantly re-heating old water.

REM has created a new video with more information on legionella, designed for homeowners.

The video can be viewed online at