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Legionnaires death prompts hotel closure for works

Katie Coyne04/10/2017 - 16:26

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The Feathers Hotel Ludlow
The Feathers Hotel Ludlow

A hotel in Shropshire has temporarily closed following a death linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires disease.

Two people became ill with confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease after staying at the Feathers Hotel in Ludlow.

A woman in her 70s fell ill in April and recovered but a second individual, a woman in her 60s, became ill in July and died the following month.

Lab tests on samples taken from both patients were described as ‘indistinguishable’ from the strain of Legionella bacteria found in water in the hotel plumbing by PHE.

On advice from the PHE in the Midlands and Shropshire Council, management decided to close the hotel while remedial work was carried out as a ‘precautionary measure.’

Dr David Kirrage, consultant with PHE West Midlands health protection team, gave his ‘heartfelt condolences’ to all those affected by the outbreak.

He added: ‘Isolated cases of Legionella infection are reported to us on a regular basis and investigated as a matter of routine.

‘However, results from PHE laboratories on Monday 11 September 2017 confirmed that the strain of Legionella located in the hotel is indistinguishable from the samples taken from the two cases. 

‘Extensive work is now needed to overhaul and treat the plumbing in such an old building.’

EHOs from Shropshire Council will continue to take water samples from the hotel during the work to test for the bacteria.

An investigation into how the outbreak happened is on-going and the hotel is not expected to open until at least the third week in October.

When Legionella was first discovered at the hotel, the management closed the affected rooms, disinfected the water system and employed heating contractors to investigate the boilers and pipework in line with public health advice. 

It also wrote to guests who had stayed at the hotel in the preceding fortnight and advised them to make contact if they had experienced any of the symptoms of Legionnaires disease.

Early symptoms of Legionnaires disease are a ‘flu-like’ illness, muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever, which can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia can cause a patient to become extremely unwell with diarrhoea as well as suffer from chest and breathing problems, and confusion can also occur.Legionnaires is a rare disease and usually only affects people with compromised immune systems. It is treated with a course of antibiotics.

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for health, adult social care and housing, Lee Chapman also offered his ‘sincere condolences to the families affected.’

He added: ‘The health and safety of our residents and visitors in Shropshire is a key priority and Shropshire Council will always strongly encourage employers to make health and safety improvements that protect their customers and staff.

‘Our health protection team provides advice on health and safety in the workplace including the control of Legionella bacteria in a wide range of water systems.

‘The team has been working closely with the proprietor of the hotel and under the direction of Public Health England to investigate the incident and ensure the right measures are in place to resolve this issue.

‘Businesses have a clear responsibility to ensure that customers, staff and other visitors are safe on their premises and protected from any health hazards. It is reassuring to know that the proprietor is taking the necessary steps and arrangement to do this.”

According to PHE, in 2014 in the West Midlands there were a total of 38 cases of Legionnaires compared to 51 in 2012. Nationally there were 331 cases of Legionnaires in 2014 compared to 306 in 2012. 



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