Legionella in the news - It’s that time of year again

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
12th August 2019

With foreign travel a factor also accounting for approximately 40% of annual cases, it is therefore not surprising the see more reports coming through this time of year. Some of the recent ones that have been reported include:

  • The Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Georgia USA voluntarily closed on the 15th July 2019 with the number of guests reported as having Legionnaires’ disease rising to 11, 1 person has died from the disease and potentially 63 other probable cases have also been identified. While investigators have yet to determine whether the hotel is indeed the source of the outbreak water testing of the pools, fountains, hot tubs, faucets, chillers and other locations at the hotel remains ongoing.                                                                                      
  • An outbreak of Legionellosis has been linked to the use of the Healax Salt Caves in Kinson Road, Bournemouth. Having visited the Caves between the 1st and 18th June 2019, 14 people developed the bacterial infection, which can lead to Legionnaires' disease and a total of nine were treated in hospital. Brian Parsons of Coles Miller Solicitorssaid: "I confirm that we have been instructed by several individuals who it would appear have recently been exposed to Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria responsible for causing Legionnaires’ Disease and Pontiac Fever. We are presently liaising with Public Health England concerning their investigation into the outbreak and we expect to receive their report in due course."
  • A warning has been issued over the high number of confirmed Legionnaires' disease cases in the Vale of Glamorgan over the last ten months. The source of the disease is unknown and there is no evidence that shows the nine cases are linked, but the number is highly unusual for one area. On average, there are around 30 cases of Legionnaires' disease in the whole of Wales each year. This current concern covers an area just to the South of where, to date, the worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Wales occurred in 2010. 2 people died, and 22 people needed hospital treatment after an outbreak for which no single source was identified but centred on the Heads of the Valleys road between Abergavenny and Llandarcy.

  • In May the Evergem region, Ghent, had an outbreak affecting over 30 people of which two have died. Investigations have since found the source with, of the original 17 businesses in the port of Ghent area where samples were collected Legionella pneumophilawas found in 5 of them. “In one sample from one cooling tower of one business, a genetic similarity was found with the legionella samples taken from five of the 32 patients. There is a strong scientific argument that they were infected from this source.” The business in question has not been named as a legal process is underway. It is likely that the other patients were also infected from this source, but a second source cannot be ruled out yet.”