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8 July 2017 Deadly Legionnaire’s disease found in showers at barracks of Queen's Buckingham Palace guards where hundreds of soldiers live

posted 10 Jul 2017, 00:25 by Ian Clarenbone

The Legionella bug - which thrives in water droplets - was discovered at Victoria Barracks in Windsor where there are 60 showers used by 300 soldiers of the Coldstream Guards.

The historic regiment, one of seven which guard the Queen at Buckingham Palace, were ordered not to use the showers after the bug was detected in a boiler. The Legionella bug was found during a routine inspection at the Victoria Barracks two weeks ago. It is believed about 60 showers were out of action, affecting up to 300 soldiers.

A source said: “A lot of us were scared we might have been exposed – posters went up warning us not to use the facilities after they found it. They locked down some of the showers so loads of us had to go elsewhere to use the ablutions. They’ve reassured us everything is being sorted now, but it was pretty hairy to hear that we might have been inhaling this stuff.”

Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria infecting the lungs. It is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. If not treated with antibiotics quickly enough, the disease can lead to death.

Last night the Ministry of Defence confirmed the outbreak, and said it was under control. A spokesman added: “Only one block of showers is closed and nearby alternatives are available while we fix the problem.”

The Coldstream Guards are one of seven regiments in the Household Division – the Queen’s personal troops. They are an infantry unit famous for being the oldest regiment in the British Army in continuous service, having been formed in 1650. The unit has previously been deployed to Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan. They are also a ceremonial battalion involved in any state or royal ceremonial tasks, such as the changing of the guard which hordes of tourists flock to see outside Buckingham Palace.