The washer fluid reservoir in your vehicle should be changed as regularly as you can (or rather the fluid in it). The BBC and many other organisations have been reporting in recent years that Windscreen wiper water may be the cause of 20% of cases of Legionnaires’ Disease in England and Wales, the Health Protection Agency says.
Stagnant, warm water is a breeding ground for the Legionella bacterium, which when inhaled causes pneumonia. Yet adding screenwash kills the bacteria and could save lives, the Agency advised. The finding came after researchers spotted that professional drivers are five times more likely to be infected.
Legionnaires’ disease is fairly rare. Most cases are sporadic and a source of the infection is not found. The number of cases vary from year to year, but in 2009 there were 345 in England and Wales - although some infections were caught overseas. It mainly affects the over 50s and is generally more common in men. Early symptoms feel similar to flu with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever. It is fatal in around 10-15% of patients.