Case of Legionnaires disease linked to fitness centre
A visitor to a council-owned sports centre in Walton-on-Naze, UK, was hospitalised after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease. The person fell in on 18th November and tests have confirmed that facility showers proved positive for the Legionella bacterium and were the likely source of the outbreak.
Tendring District Council said its fitness room showers would be closed until the bacteria was eradicated.
Lynda McWilliams, the council’s member for leisure health and well being, said: “As soon as we were contacted by Public Health England, the showers used by the customer were closed down and test samples taken.
“All the necessary bodies were informed while we awaited the results of the tests which were carried out at an independent laboratory.
“The council’s corporate health and safety advisor is currently working to find and eliminate the source of the bacteria.”
This will involve dismantling and disinfecting the shower heads, flushing the system and taking more samples.
Comment. Surely this is a case where using rapid tests for routine monitoring might have prevented infection. Experts are fully aware that it is impossible to eradicate Legionella from water systems. It is therefore essential to manage the water system to control the growth of the Legionella bacterium. Regular monitoring can confirm that this control is maintained and rapid testing provides an immediate alert if a system control is compromised.