2 July 2018 Legionnaires’ Disease warnings in Spain

posted 3 Jul 2018, 06:00 by Ian Clarenbone

Hotels and other popular tourist haunts have been warned to tighten up their precautions this summer after a near 50% spike in the number of legionnaires’ disease cases reported in Spain last year.

While not all registered cases involved tourists, the National Association of Environmental Health Businesses (Anecpla) said that the arrival of summer with high temperatures and increased use of air conditioning highlighted the need to “maximise controls” on cooling systems where the bacteria breed.

Eight people died in Spain in 2017 from the disease in what was the second worst year in a decade, while the number of reported cases soared to nearly 1,500 from just over 1,000 in 2016 according to figures from the National Centre for Epidemiology. One of the worst outbreaks happened in early autumn when eight hotels were affected in the town of Palmanova on the island of Mallorca. It caused a wave of cancellations, especially in its leading incoming tourism market, the UK, after British travel agents’ clients were advised to steer clear of the resort.

In its warning, Anecpla pointed out not only the dangers from hotel, spa and other accommodation systems but also less obvious ones such as those used by restaurants and bars on their outdoor terraces. Another area prone to propagating the disease was the very place tourists went to in the case of falling ill, namely hospitals and clinics. “All (systems) are susceptible to provoke a possible outbreak of legionnaires’,” said the Director General of Anecpla, Milagros Fernández de Lezeta.

The association said the need for regular maintenance was underscored by the 2017 figures which showed that ‘it’s not all being done as well as it should be’.

One specialist company Stenco said that since 2013 there had been “a growing trend in Spain that broke the progressive fall in cases that had taken place since 2002.” It also pointed out that ‘data declared from other European Union countries has also revealed a major increase when compared to previous years’.

28 May 2018 Legionella bacteria was found on the Pride of Kent P&O ferry after it returned to service

posted 4 Jun 2018, 01:19 by Ian Clarenbone

The bacteria was found in shower heads in facilities used by crew members in the Pride of Kent. Pipes are now being flushed through in an attempt to rid the cross channel ferry of the organisms.

The Pride of Kent, which operates between Dover and Calais, was pulled out of action after smashing into the Port of Calais last December during Storm Ania.

A P&O spokesman said the bacteria was found in May during routine tests.

"After its return to service after a five month absence, we conducted routine tests on the Pride of Kent and found low levels of Legionella bacteria in three shower heads in the crew quarters. This is being dealt with by the standard process of super-chlorination followed by the flushing through of the pipes. It is important to note that Legionella bacteria is naturally occurring in water and at these levels there is minimal risk to passengers or crew."

11 May 2018 Legionella bacteria discovered in water supply at flats complex in Stoke-on-Trent where hundreds live

posted 16 May 2018, 08:04 by Ian Clarenbone

Tests are being carried out after Legionella bacteria was discovered in the hot water supplies at a flats complex housing hundreds of residents. The bacteria - which causes legionnaires' disease - was discovered at Stoke-on-Trent's West End Village and the neighbouring HQ of Staffordshire Housing Association (SHA), on London Road, last week.

SHA has written to the complex's 300-plus residents to stress that the problem is confined to the development's communal areas which include a cafe and restaurant, hairdressers, gym, meeting rooms and a hydrotherapy pool. It led to the temporary closure of the restaurant and cafe and hairdressers and the gym continues to have no hot showers. Now tests are continuing at the complex until Thursday, May 17 as environmental health continues to monitor the situation.

Residents have praised the swift action to contain the bacteria. Sue Owen, aged 66, who has lived at West End Village for seven years, said: "We had a letter telling us what was going on and it hasn't affected the flats. They have done some work and the businesses were up and running after a day."

SHA has confirmed that 'evidence of some Legionella bacteria in the communal hot water system' was discovered on May 3 following routine tests. Director of Housing Service Tim Sheail said: "We were advised to shutdown hot water supplies to the communal areas until the problem could be eradicated. This did not affect individual apartments within West End Village but involved the hot water supplies to the kitchens and toilets in the offices and the communal areas of the village. We immediately isolated the hot water taps in the affected areas, informed staff and delivered letters to all of the residents explaining what was happening. We used a specialist water hygiene company to treat the affected hot water cylinder the following day. We have advised residents that the treatment and re-testing process should mean the hot water system will be back to normal by the end of next week. It takes a few days because it involves a laboratory testing process and the bacteria can take a few days to incubate.”

 "We have installed alternative forms of hot water heating to the restaurant kitchen, in consultation with environmental health, and we have provided alternative hot water to the hairdressers, so their business would not be disrupted. This was all completed within 24 hours of shutting off the hot water supplies. We informed the gym manager on the day we found the problem and provided a notice for external customers explaining that hot water showers would not be available while we resolve this problem.”

 "Staff have been available to answer any residents’ concerns and most have been reassured by the fact that this did not affect their own hot water system."

 Stoke-on-Trent City Council has inspected the hot water supply to the cafe and restaurant and hairdressers and is happy with the temporary arrangement.

20 April 2018 Royal United Hospitals NHS Trust fined after exposing patients to Legionella risk

posted 14 May 2018, 01:05 by Ian Clarenbone

Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £300,000 after failing to control the risk to patients from exposure to Legionella bacteria in its water systems.


Bristol Crown Court heard how, in July 2015, Mr Terence Brooks, a 68-year-old patient at Bath’s Royal United Hospital, died from Legionnaires’ disease. Following Mr Brooks’ death, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation which found that the Trust had failed to put in place all of the necessary precautions to minimise the risk to patients in the annex to the William Budd Ward from exposure to Legionella.


HSE’s investigation revealed that the annex to the William Budd Ward is on a separate loop of the hospital’s water system to that which supplies the main ward. This important fact had not been recognised by the Trust from the opening of the annex in 2009 until Mr Brooks’ death in July 2015. This failure meant the required temperature checks and tests for the presence of Legionella bacteria in the water had not been carried out in the annex over this period.


Tests carried out after Mr Brooks’ death revealed problems with water temperatures in the annex and Legionella bacteria were found in water samples taken from outlets in all five isolation suites in the annex to the William Budd Ward.


The strain of Legionella bacteria which caused Mr Brooks’ death was not the same as that found in the water system. However, HSE concluded there was sufficient evidence to prosecute the Trust for exposing patients to risks from Legionella bacteria in its water systems.


Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,451.78.


Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Susan Chivers said: “Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia which can be fatal and people who are being treated in hospital are especially susceptible to infection. That is what makes RUH’s failings in Legionella management all the more concerning. RUH had measures in place to prevent and control the risk to its patients from exposure to Legionella from its water systems, but these were ineffective due to the Trust not having accurate knowledge of the layout of those water systems.”


“All organisations have a responsibility to manage their water systems to protect people from the risk of Legionella infection. It is essential that organisations review their risk control measures whenever there is reason to suspect that they are no longer valid or when there are changes to a water system.” After the hearing, Terence Brooks’ family gave the following statement: “The family are pleased that the HSE have pursued this and that as a result changes have been made at the RUH. Our hope is that no other family will suffer as we have.”

Deadly Legionnaires' bug is lurking at the CAR WASH. Two men became seriously ill with the disease after inhaling infected water droplets

posted 19 Feb 2018, 00:46 by Ian Clarenbone

Two men became seriously ill with Legionnaires' disease after inhaling infected water droplets from separate car washes in Italy, according to a study published in the journal Annals of Hygiene.

The incidents occurred in Italy, but could also take place in the UK,according to microbiologist Dr Tom Makin, a senior consultant at Legionella control.  He said: 'Legionella bacteria grow in large numbers in water systems that get warm and remain idle for extensive periods of time, such as drive-through car wash systems. Car washes are capable of generating the right sized aerosols that can be inhaled into the lungs where the Legionella bacteria cause infection, such as pneumonia. Some car washes have the additional problem of collecting wash water and recirculating it during further wash cycles. This can increase the amount of general debris and nutrients in the water which can help support the growth of bacteria.'  

And it is not just car-wash users who could be at risk. Dr Makin added: 'Aerosols generated by car washes can drift reasonable distances and if they are contaminated with Legionella they could be a source of infection to other people in the area.' 

Legionella bacteria thrive in warm, stagnant water, found at car washes. Most Legionnaires' disease sufferers become infected when they inhale tiny microscopic water droplets containing Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires' disease affects around 500 people a year in England alone and is fatal in approximately one in 10 cases.

17 January 2018 Broadways Nursing Home Larne: Legionella bacteria found in plumbing

posted 18 Jan 2018, 04:15 by Ian Clarenbone

A strain of Legionella bacteria has been found in the plumbing system of Broadways Nursing Home in Larne in November. The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) said, that while the bacteria is present, there has not been an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease. The entire water system at the home is being replaced to address the issue. The home said the issue would be resolved in the coming weeks.

Barbara Sloan of Broadway Nursing Home said the issue was discovered as part of routine assessments. "The pipe work is to be upgraded and while that work is being done, we have cut off some of the mains water supply within the home. The safety and comfort of our residents is of paramount importance and will continue to be so," she said.

The RQIA said use of some taps in the home have been withdrawn and others restricted as a precaution. Tap filters and bottled water have also been provided to residents. The regulatory body has also notified the Health and Safety Executive.

12 December 2017 Legionella bacteria found on lower school site of Royal Harbour Academy Ramsgate

posted 13 Dec 2017, 06:46 by Ian Clarenbone

Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires' disease, has been found in a secondary school water system in Ramsgate. The bacteria was found in a small area of the water system on the lower school site of Royal Harbour Academy on Newlands Lane.

Head teacher Simon Pullen said the bacteria was discovered during regular checks, and has since been dealt with.

He said: "Regular checks did pick up an element of it in one small area on the lower school. That was then isolated and has since been flushed through the system and we're confident it is now clear. They are now running further checks to ensure it is gone but we have kept that area isolated. No one is exposed to it as it is in one very small area which has been isolated."

The bacteria can be found in both potable and non potable water and can cause Legionnaires' disease - a severe and sometimes lethal form of pneumonia.

7 December 2017 Area of Lincoln prison isolated after suspected Legionnaires' disease death

posted 13 Dec 2017, 06:44 by Ian Clarenbone

Specialist teams have descended on HMP Lincoln after a man died from a possible case of Legionnaires' disease. Graham Butterworth, 71, died at the Greetwell Road jail on Monday, December 5.

And now the prison, which has capacity for up to 738 inmates, has isolated shower areas on one wing to investigate the possible case of the deadly disease. The prison are treating it as an isolated case and no other prisoners or members of staff have shown symptoms at this stage.

A spokesperson for the MOJ said: "HMP Lincoln prisoner Graham Butterworth died in custody on December 5, 2017. As with all deaths in custody there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”

The prison are now investigating the man's death with Public Health Lincoln and other health organisations.  A spokesperson for Public Health England said: "Public Health England along with HMP Lincoln, the Ministry of Justice and other health partners are investigating a possible case of Legionnaires' disease in an inmate at HMP Lincoln. Sadly the individual has died and our thoughts are with their family at this time. Further testing is being carried out to confirm Legionnaires disease and precautionary measures have been taken within the prison to isolate shower areas on one wing and water samples have been sent for testing."

21 November 2017 Dudley engineering firm fined for Legionella risk

posted 22 Nov 2017, 06:32 by Ian Clarenbone

A DUDLEY engineering firm has been fined £10,000 after it failed to prevent the risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria in a tunnel wash at its powder coating plant.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that De-Met Colourcoat Limited, based at Grazebrook Industrial Park, Peartree Lane, had no controls in place to manage the risk of Legionella bacteria in the water system.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching two sections of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay costs of £5,067.68 in addition to the fine.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Paul Cooper, said: “This was a case where the company failed to have any controls whatsoever for the management of Legionella at the powder coating plant. Without identifying and putting in place suitable control measures there is a real risk of Legionnaires’ disease from tunnel washers. It is therefore of the upmost importance to control these risks by introducing appropriate measures."

A spokesman for De-Met Colourcoat Ltd said: “Whilst the company respects the decision of the court and fully recognises its culpability in not having the required risk assessment paperwork in place, we remain proud of the high standards of operational health and safety we maintain at the business. Tests for the presence of Legionella before and since the breach have proven negative and at no stage was there any evidence that Legionella was present in the tunnel wash. Since the breach we have comprehensively reviewed health and safety policies and management continues to work hard to keep our employees safe at work.”

21 November 2017 Three Queens Hotel Burton remains partially closed after two former guests contracted Legionnaires' disease

posted 22 Nov 2017, 06:20 by Ian Clarenbone

The Queens Hotel remains only partially open after two people who had stayed at the hotel were later diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

The Three Queens Hotel and Lodge, in Bridge Street, was temporarily closed on October 6 on the advice of health professionals from Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands, East Staffordshire Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council. The move followed lab tests showing Legionella pneumophila bacteria present in water samples taken from hotel plumbing, and two separate, confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease in former hotel guests.


Dr Musarrat Afza, consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said: "Isolated cases of Legionella infection are reported to us on a regular basis and investigated as a matter of routine. Following the second case of confirmed Legionnaires' disease with a link to the hotel, we liaised with colleagues in the local Environmental Health team to carry out testing of water systems at the hotel and on discovering Legionella, management implemented public health advice to minimise exposure to guests and staff, and closed areas where the bacteria had been detected immediately, and soon after the decision was made to close the hotel completely to allow a full assessment of the water systems and remedial work. Members of the Environmental Health team have been testing throughout the process to assess when the various hotel buildings could reopen."

Two people, who had stayed at the hotel earlier this year, were diagnosed with Legionnaires ‘ disease. The first person was from Nottingham and was diagnosed in January. The second, from Bridlington, Yorkshire, was diagnosed in September and was seriously ill as a result. She was found to have double pneumonia and spent three weeks in hospital hooked up to a drip and on constant oxygen. When she returned home she was still bed-bound and struggling to breathe.

Malcolm Novell, general manager of The Three Queens Hotel and Lodge, said: "The health and wellbeing of our guests and staff members is of the utmost importance, so we have been working closely with public health professionals from East Staffordshire Borough Council and Public Health England and taking remedial action. Once work on our water systems is complete and satisfactory test results have been received from health professionals, we will reopen fully to the public."


On temporary closure of the hotel, management contacted guests to explain the situation, and notified people who had stayed at the hotel two weeks prior to closure to advise them to make contact if they experienced any symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. 

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