Legionella in cars
The Health Protection Agency estimates that up to 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease may originate from the stagnant warmish water in windscreen washer sprays.
Legionnaires’ Disease can be fatal and about 10% of all people who contract it die from the infection or from associated complications, while the remainder get flu-like symptoms with coughs, headaches, tiredness and muscle aches.
The tests found the Legionella bacteria to be present in one in five cars which had water-only in the washer bottle, however it was not present in any car which had standard screenwash solution added to the water. Those identified most at-risk from this are people classed as professional drivers, which is where the work-related link comes in, such as sales reps or van drivers and also men in their 50s or older. (It logically follows therefore that if you are a 50 year old male van driver you will be lucky to make it through to the weekend...)