27 July 2020 Traces of Legionella are found in the showers at Hythe Swimming Pool in Kent

posted 3 Aug 2020, 03:23 by Ian Clarenbone

Swimmers who used a public pool have been contacted after traces of Legionella were found in the showers. The potentially concerning bacteria was discovered following routine tests at Hythe Swimming Pool, in South Road, Hythe on the same day it re-opened since before lockdown.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council say the Legionella was found in the showers in the women's changing rooms. The authority says the type found is common and 'very low risk' but that they have still contacted the people who used the facilities to let them know. The showers are now closed while treatment is carried out, but the pool remains open.

A spokesman for the district council said: "Like other swimming pools, Hythe Swimming Pool routinely tests for Legionella in its water systems. On Monday we received a notification that traces of Legionella had been found in the showers in the women’s changing room. The type of Legionella found is common and is very low risk. However, we have contacted the small number of people who used the women’s changing room before the discovery to let them know. The showers were closed as soon as we received this news to allow the necessary treatment to be undertaken. Following treatment - and tests to confirm this has been effective - the showers at the pool will reopen. The pool is unaffected and remains open for swimming."

Hythe pool only re-opened to the public for the first time since March on Monday (July 27). Many new rules were put into place to keep people safe amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This includes visitors arriving swim ready, wearing masks in the reception area and lockers being out of bounds.

29 July 2020 Hinchingbrooke Hospital: Legionella bacteria found in water supply

posted 3 Aug 2020, 03:07 by Ian Clarenbone

North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed Legionella bacteria has been found in the water supplies at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon. The trust says work is now underway to clear out the system and alternative arrangements are in place to ensure patients are cared for. While that takes place, the hospital will not have any hot water available to patients and staff.

The Chief Operating Officer at Hinchingbrooke Hospital has confirmed Legionella bacteria has been found in the water supplies. Graham Wilde, Chief Operating Officer at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “Following routine testing of our water supply we have identified levels of the Legionella bacteria within the system. We are working with engineers and our Facilities Management team to undertake a series of actions this morning to clear the system. While that takes place, we will not have any hot water available to our patients and staff. We have alternative arrangements in place for this period, and have provided specific instructions to our wards and clinics to help them continue to care for our patients.”

“We would like to assure patients and staff that we are taking all actions necessary to return our site to usual operation as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

1 July 2020 Legionella Found in Water Tanks at the Eastbourne Campus of the University of Brighton.

posted 6 Jul 2020, 06:47 by Ian Clarenbone

The outbreak has thwarted plans to re-open Sportswise, the specialist private clinic for the treatment of sports injuries and musculoskeletal problems, in The Welkin Building in Carlisle Road. A spokesperson confirmed that because of the presence of Legionella in the water tanks at the building, the plan had been put on hold.

A spokesperson said, “We hope to get news from the university that the test after treatment will be clear in the week starting Monday July 6 with the hope to re-open from Wednesday July 8. We will start to call patients on our holding list to go through the pre-screening in the coming days. However, if the test comes back as not clear then we will call you again to postpone. Services continue from the Natural Fitness Centre in the interim period.”

A spokesperson for the University of Brighton said, “Many of our buildings currently are closed due to the coronavirus. As part of normal processes for re-opening, we have conducted cleansing and routine tests on water supplies to ensure they are safe prior to reoccupation. During recent tests we have had a small number of positive results which is not unusual when buildings and water supplies have been unused for a period of time. We currently are sterilising the impacted areas which, again, is a routine procedure, to help minimise the risk of a legionella outbreak, prior to allowing reoccupation. The safety of everyone who uses our buildings remains paramount.”

1 July 2020 Legionella in Water Supply at Brynmawr Foundation School

posted 1 Jul 2020, 05:41 by Ian Clarenbone

ONE of five schools in Blaenau Gwent which has remained closed this week due to issues with water supplies, had a positive test result for Legionella contamination, its headteacher has said. Tredegar Comprehensive and Willowtown Primary School, in Ebbw Vale, also did not re-open as planned on Monday, but it is hoped they will be able to this week.

Brynmawr Foundation School, along with Blaen-y-Cwm Primary School in Brynmawr and Ystruth Primary School in Blaina, is staying closed for the next two weeks after Blaenau Gwent council said tests indicated “a localised contamination” within the water supply. A letter sent to parents last week from the headteacher of Brynmawr Foundation School, Gerard McNamara, said: “As part of our health and safety routine procedures our water is tested every month. All previous tests have been negative. However, today we have had a positive test result for localised low levels of Legionella contamination which require a full system chlorination.”

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said the water supply at the schools cannot be used until it has been chlorinated and new tests show it is satisfactory. Labour councillor, Hedley McCarthy, said he has been contacted by worried parents and grandparents over the issue. He said “I am as concerned as they are, the safeguarding of our children and staff is paramount, to allay health and safety fears an urgent independent inquiry should be set up by Welsh Government to give transparency as to how this could have been allowed to happen.”

Alun Davies, member of the Senedd for Blaenau Gwent, has written to the council, asking it to be “open and transparent on what they knew and when. With five schools affected it feels like a systemic problem with the authority’s management rather than an individual problem with water supply,” he said. “I also want clear confirmation that there are no other problems with any other school and that all other schools passed the relevant tests.”
The NASUWT teaching union has warned that children and staff in schools which were open as hubs may have been put at risk. Mark Morris, national executive member for South East Wales said: “For this to have happened means that the absolute basic risk assessments and requirements to legally and safely disperse water haven’t been followed. That doesn’t even include any of the new or additional risks that may occur based on the COVID-19 guidelines. That some of the schools may have been partially opened as hub schools is a particular concern as staff, and pupils, may have drunk, or washed, in contaminated water. The lack of clarity in many risk assessments, particularly around what water testing has been in place during the partial closure is a concern. These tests should be routine and continuous and no different to the testing required after any prolonged period of closure such as the summer holidays.”

Cllr Steve Thomas, Blaenau Gwent council’s Labour group leader, said the response from the authority was “nothing short of shambolic. They have carried out the testing way too late bearing in mind that most schools have been closed for three months,” he added.

Councillor Joanne Collins, the council’s executive member for education, said: “This is disappointing for the pupils who planned to return to school and their families, but the safety and well-being of all our pupils and school staff is always the top priority. “Our health and safety and environmental health teams are working closely with all the schools affected to resolve the issues as quickly as possible however this is also reliant on some external factors, such as laboratory testing. We have been in touch with parents via the schools and will continue to communicate with them when we have further updates.”
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “We expect the local authority to follow public health procedures and escalate any issues as appropriate.”

16 June 2020 Warning over Legionnaires’ Disease

posted 17 Jun 2020, 00:50 by Ian Clarenbone

Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) said in a statement released on Tuesday 16 June warning that recent warm weather and months of water systems going unused created "ideal conditions" for the bacteria that spread the disease after months of quarantine during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"If a building was closed for several months due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it is likely that the water system has had no throughput. This, combined with the recent warm weather, means that legionella bacteria may have grown in the system and could pose a serious risk to health," the warning published by EEBC read.

NHS England warn that you can catch Legionnaires' disease if you breathe in tiny droplets of water containing bacteria that cause the infection. It's most frequently caught in communal places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply.

EEBC advised on how businesses and organizations can best protect their returning workforce:

"For small buildings flushing the system may be enough to ensure safety, but for larger buildings some form of disinfection is needed, and a longer time is required to carry out the treatment before the building is safe. Businesses have a responsibility for managing health and safety risks in the workplace including exposure to the legionella bacteria," the council said.

Former Mayor and Environment and Safe Communities Committee Chair Neil Dallen added: "The warm conditions this spring created the ideal conditions for the growth of legionella bacteria in unused water pipes, taps, tanks and shower heads in closed buildings”.

17 April 2020 Legionella warning issued for vacant buildings amid COVID-19 outbreak

posted 20 Apr 2020, 00:22 by Ian Clarenbone

Building owners and managers must be vigilant over potentially fatal Legionella at buildings left vacant due to coronavirus, urges property and construction consultancy, Ingleton Wood

Ingleton Wood has issued a warning over potentially fatal Legionella at offices and other buildings left vacant due to coronavirus.

With the current lockdown, many buildings will be empty or experiencing minimal occupancy and, as a result, domestic water systems within the building could potentially become a Legionella risk if action, such as regular flushing, is not taken.

Unoccupied buildings run the risk of water stagnating, providing conditions where harmful Legionella bacteria can proliferate.

Ingleton Wood is now urging property owners, managers and tenants across the region to be aware of the risks and take appropriate action.

‘Be vigilant and aware’

Wesley Henderson, building services engineer at Ingleton Wood, said: “The COVID-19 crisis has caused unprecedented building closures. Many have zero or reduced occupancy and now face an increased risk of exposure to Legionella. That’s why we’re encouraging building owners, managers and landlords to be vigilant and aware of their legal obligations.

“One of the greatest risks of potential exposure to Legionella will be when the lockdown ends. It is imperative that the water systems are made safe prior to reoccupation.

“It is not necessarily recommended to drain down mothballed systems as this does not always eliminate the risk. But in all circumstances the flushing of water should be exercised with caution as there is potential for stagnant water to form aerosols containing the bacteria.

“Risk assessments should also identify the risks and control measures required. If in doubt, a specialist water treatment company should be consulted.”

Six ways to tackle Legionella risk in vacant buildings amid COVID-19

1.      Review the Legionella risk assessment and written control scheme, particularly with current occupancy and operations in mind

2.      Identify low use water outlets and set up a flushing regime

3.      Identify if occupants or visitors may be more susceptible to Legionella and control the risk

4.      Ensure flushing of low or zero use outlets on a regular basis and recording of such activities

5.      Ensure routine water temperature testing records are maintained

6.     Ensure that water systems which have been left stagnant are recommissioned as if new (i.e. sterilising, microbiological testing).

14 April 2020 COVID-19 Closures Could Make Water Unsafe In Offices and Schools

posted 16 Apr 2020, 02:31 by Ian Clarenbone

The COVID-19 pandemic could threaten drinking water safety in buildings that have been closed. Purdue University is working quickly with other research teams to develop guidance for when places like offices, schools, and gyms reopen. 

Water left to sit in pipes can get contaminated with toxic heavy metals and bacteria — like the kind that causes Legionnaires’ disease, another illness that affects the lungs. 

“Now that all of the buildings are closed at this wide scale, we might have to start thinking about it because everyone will be exposed in every building all at the same time,” says researcher Caitlin Proctor.

Purdue engineering professor Andrew Whelton says every building is different — what works to keep people safe in an office might not work for a building that houses people who are critically ill. That being said,, he says there are some actions many building owners could be taking right now to address the problem.

“This would include flushing, routinely, all the water outlets in the building — once a week, at least,” Whelton says.

Whelton says state governments should also consider water stagnation problems as part of their emergency operations for COVID-19.

“What we cannot have is governors saying tomorrow we're opening up everything and everybody go back to work tomorrow — and everybody starts going back to the gyms in the morning where the water is set stagnant for three to four to five weeks and they're going to take a shower in that water," he says. "People start drinking water out of office buildings that haven't really moved in a long time — and so there really needs to be planning to address this.”

7 February 2020 Swimming pools closed at Melville Hall Hotel Isle of Wight after Legionnaires' disease bacteria found

posted 10 Feb 2020, 03:34 by Ian Clarenbone

Swimming pool and spa facilities have been closed at a Sandown hotel on the order of environmental health officers — after fears were raised guests could be exposed to Legionnaires' disease.

The Isle of Wight Council confirmed it had launched an investigation at the Melville Hall Hotel and Utopia Spa in Sandown. It said high levels of Legionella bacterium, which causes Legionnaires' disease, had been found in the pool and hot tubs.

One guest, who asked not to be named, said he was swimming when environmental health officers descended on the hotel, and told him to get out of the pool immediately.

When asked if any action had been taken at Melville Hall, an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson replied: "We can confirm the council's environmental health department is investigating the confirmed presence of the Legionella bacterium at an undesirable level in the spa and pool leisure facilities of a hotel on the Isle of Wight. Enforcement action has been undertaken to eliminate the risk, which has included the hotel taking measures to close both facilities pending ongoing investigations."

Reviews posted online by unhappy customers claim the facilities were not clean, there were birds in the outdoor swimming pool, the detox cabin would not heat up and algae was growing in the pool.

Georgia Day, who visited with a friend on January 31, described the experience as a 'not-so-relaxing spa day.' She said: "The pool was freezing cold and the hot tub had yellow signs with white and red tape around it — it looked like a crime scene, to be honest. We could only use a normal hot tub, the kind some people have in their gardens, and the sauna had to be switched on and warmed up." The pair left after 45 minutes.

Despite the fact the council had confirmed high levels of Legionella bacterium had been found, a spokesperson for Melville Hall Hotel and Utopia Spa said there was 'no proof' the facilities had been contaminated. “Our guests' health and safety is our highest priority," said the spokesperson. "The environmental health service is obliged to check all hotels on the Island — to date, we have not received any proof of water contaminates in any of our facilities or anyone becoming ill. Naturally, we will work with them during our ongoing refurbishment program to further enhance our superb facilities."


8 January 2020 A new-born is believed to have been the first victim of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at a Pimlico apartment block.

posted 9 Jan 2020, 04:19 by Ian Clarenbone

Three people in three months are known to have contacted the potentially deadly lung infection at Dolphin Square. Today it emerged that a five-day-old boy fell ill in a one-bedroom rented flat in Beatty House, part of the Dolphin Square complex, on February 8 last year. The boy’s parents, who have asked to remain anonymous, have launched legal action against Dolphin Square alleging breach of the duty of care.

He spent almost two months in hospital, where his condition became critical and he was transferred to Great Ormond Street. For several weeks it was not known whether he would survive. Whilst receiving treatment at GOSH, it was found that Legionella bacterium was causing his illness.

The boy’s father contacted landlords Dolphin Square Ltd on March 4. Four days later, Public Health England found a “high concentration” of legionella in the bathroom sink and shower.

The boy responded to treatment and has left hospital. But he remains under the care of consultants and his long-term condition is unknown. The family moved out in September. The boy’s parents said: “It was every parent’s worst nightmare to have our baby fall so ill just a few days after being born.”

Concern about Legionnaire’s disease at Dolphin Square, where there are about 1,200 flats in 12 blocks, first emerged last June, and Public Health England declared an outbreak in July.

Joseph Dawson, from law firm Leigh Day, said: “It has been a terrifying time for my clients and we are now hoping to get them some answers.”

 Dolphin Square said it does not comment on matters involving residents. It has conducted two estate-wide inspections of the water system.


17 December 2019 Heatherside Care Home ‘requires improvement’ after health risks exposed

posted 18 Dec 2019, 04:48 by Ian Clarenbone

The care home has been demoted to 'Requires Improvement' after new management introduced.

Elderly patients were at risk of Legionnaire’s disease for months after health inspectors ordered Heatherside Care Home to urgently improve their care and safety standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) outlined a series of concerns with fire safety and medicinal practices throughout the care home in Hook, a recent report says. According to the CQC: “The provider had failed to assess, monitor and mitigate the risks relating to the safety of the service, service users and others. Audits had failed to identify concerns found in relation to the fire safety, legionella management, medicines management, staff requirement and supervision and appraisal arrangements.” This highlighted ineffective conduct of fire drills including poor condition of fire doors in the building which had not been corrected following the previous assessment in March 2019.

The health care watchdogs across North Hampshire raised several risks for Legionnaires’ disease through improper water systems throughout the building that placed guests at risk of harm and required maintenance staff members to take a training course.

Manager of Heatherside Care Home, Steve Morton, 51, from Woking explained: “After we received the feedback from our CQC inspection we had a specialist company come in and readdress the fire doors in the building as well as a fire safety audit conducted by two inspectors. As of October 29, we were declared a safe care home by the fire brigade following our recent changes and we are working closely with the CQC to return to our original status by the next calendar year.”

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