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Legionnaires' Disease Outbreaks

There are approximately 300-350 reported confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, on average each year in England and Wales. The total number of cases may be underestimated. We have exampled some significant outbreaks that the UK have seen below:

1985 - Stafford District Hospital - 175 Patients / 28 Deaths

The source of infection was traced to the air-conditioning cooling tower on the roof of the hospital.

1985 - Glasgow Royal Infirmary - 16 Patients

The source of infection was traced to contamination of a cooling tower from which a plume of spray discharged into the intake vents of the two ventilation systems.

2002 - Forum 28 Arts Centre (Barrow-in-Furness) - 180 Patients / 7 Deaths

The source of infection was traced to an air-conditioning unit.

(Within this case, Barrow Borough Council and the Design Service Manager were initially charged with manslaughter, which was later dropped. They were fined for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.)

2008 - University Hospital, Nottingham - 12 Patients

The source of infection was traced to a domestic hot water system in one of the hospital blocks, which was run at a temperature of 43 degrees C.

2010 - South East Wales (Over Rhymney Valley and the lower Cynon Valley) - 22 Patients

The source of infections were inconclusive, however were compatible with cooling towers in each location.

2012 - Edinburgh (Multiple areas across south west) - 95 Patients / 3 Deaths

The sources of infections were a cluster of cooling towers in the south west of the city.

2012 - JTF Wholesale (Stoke-on-Trent) - 21 Patients / 2 Deaths

The source of infections were traced to a heated spa pool, which had been on display.

2019 - Dolphin Square Flat Complex - 3 Patients

The source of infection was traced to the domestic hot and cold water systems across multiple domestic residences.

The risks of catching Legionnaires' Disease remain high in the older aged population and those who have significant health complications. Men are 3 times more likely to catch the disease than women and it has a fatality rate of 10-15% but rising to almost 25% in healthcare settings.

We speak to people that know of others that have caught Legionnaires' Disease and the feedback is always bad and the affected person has either died or suffered continued health complications since catching Legionnaires' Disease.

Making sure that businesses and those responsible for controlling the risks associated to Legionella Bacteria and Legionnaires' Disease is our priority. The need to complete the risk assessments and any corrective actions must be a priority and taken seriously. Not only were there fatalities in the above cases but there were also significant fines and closures of businesses. This doesn't only affect the families of the person who caught Legionnaires' Disease but it affects the people who work for the businesses and their families too.

If you would like to learn more about what you need to do and how to reduce the risks, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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