Previous studies have showed a connection between Legionnaires’ disease and riding in cars. However, little was understood about how or why that was possible.
According to Bloomberg, a recent study in Arizona, released by the American Society for Microbiology, says that the washer fluid found in vehicles has the traits to breed and expose the Legionella bacteria. The study’s lead author has said:
It is aerosolized, heated and people are regularly exposed to it. The results from this study support previously demonstrated epidemiological evidence for a link between automobiles and Legionnaires’ disease by providing microbiological data on survival, presence and transmission of Legionella in washer fluid.
According to the study, 75% of the school buses tested in a Arizona school district were positive for the Legionella bacteria. And when the contaminated washer fluid was sprayed, researchers detected the bacteria was spread in a way that Legionnaires’ disease could be contracted, creating the potential for an outbreak.
Researchers are still collecting data and trying to determine the level of risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease from window washer fluid, and what preventative measures can be taken.
Additionally, the researchers also discovered that there was a higher presence of Legionella in the washer fluid during summer months versus winter months, due to the improved breeding conditions provided by the warmer air in the summer.