Washer fluid may transmit Legionnaires’ disease

Phoenix – Bacteria that cause the deadly form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid, according to a study presented May 18 at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual meeting in Boston.

Researchers from Arizona State University found the bacteria in the washer fluid of 75 percent of school buses they tested. During another series of experiments they found that Legionella bacteria became more concentrated over time and maintained stable populations for up to 14 months in washer fluid

“Washer fluid spray can release potentially dangerous numbers of these bacteria into the air. These results suggest that automobiles may serve as a source of transmission for Legionella infections," study author Otto Schwake said in a press release.