The Health Ministry has issued an alert about Legionnaires’ disease or legionellosis can also lurk in nebulizers used to treat congested nasal cavities and bronchial tubes by spraying liquids that have been broken down into mist.

People who have heard of the disease generally associate it with air-conditioning systems, as the first case was disclosed in 1976 at a Philadelphia hotel where members of the American Legion who gathered fell victim to the unknown condition.

But today, the potentially deadly bacteria have also been found to breed in jacuzzis, architectural fountains, ice-making machines, evaporating coolers and even windshield-wiper systems.

The ministry noted however that they do not spread through drinking water.

The bacteria have been found in water that is at room temperature and used in cold-mist and warm-mist nebulizers. Recently, there have been reports in Israel and abroad of cases of babies and children infected with Legionnaires’ disease from these nebulizers, and adults can be infected from them. The ministry advised that when nebulizers are used, they should be emptied once a day, wiped clean, dried and filled with boiled water that has been cooled before use. Once a week, the inside of the device should be cleaned with an “appropriate cleaner.” Once per season, the device should be thoroughly cleaned and dried before being stored away; the process should be repeated before the device is used again.