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20 August 2018 Residents moved out as Legionnaires' disease bacteria found at sheltered housing in Birkenhead

posted 21 Aug 2018, 06:15 by Ian Clarenbone

All 62 residents of Vincent Naughton Court, which houses people aged 55 and over, are in the process of being moved to temporary accommodation after regular tests revealed a "high reading" of Legionella. No cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported at the site - but the bacteria can cause serious illness, particularly in older people.

Sanctuary Housing, which manages the building on Rodney Street, Birkenhead, said the problem was discovered on Friday morning. A spokesman said: "Through our regular water testing at Vincent Naughton Court we identified a high reading of Legionella bacteria in the water supply.

We immediately alerted United Utilities, Wirral Council, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive and have been supporting the 62 residents to temporarily move out of the building to allow remedial work and subsequent re-testing to take place. While no cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported, as the Legionella bacteria can cause serious illness, particularly in older people, we are taking the precautionary step of moving everyone into temporary accommodation while we eradicate the risk. We anticipate that residents will remain in their temporary accommodation while the issue is resolved and we are providing them with support and advice, including covering their day to day living costs."

United Utilities moved to reassure the public that the contaminated water was confined to internal systems in the Vincent Naughton Court building. A spokesman said: "This appears to be an entirely private matter involving internal pipework and not a problem with the mains water supplied to the site.

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: "Upon being informed of the discovery of legionella at Vincent Naughton Court in Birkenhead, the council has assisted Sanctuary Housing through its environmental health services and its adult social care service, which is provided by Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust."