Legionnaires outbreak results in death

Published: 18 Sep 2017

A guest in her 60's who was staying at The Feathers Hotel in Ludlow, Shropshire has died after contracting Legionnaires disease. The hotel has now voluntarily closed.

In April, another guest also fell ill and tests show links between legionella bacteria found in water samples from the hotel and the two guests, Public Health England said.

The hotel is contacting recent guests to advise them to make contact if they have experienced any symptoms of the disease.

Dr David Kirrage, consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said as soon as soon as the legionella bacteria was identified, the hotel's affected rooms were closed, the water system disinfected and heating contractors employed to look at the boilers and pipework.

At the time of the April case, water testing at the hotel took place and two tests came back positive. An improvement notice was issued and the hotel carried out the necessary works. Subsequent tests were negative which suggested that the problem was intermittent. 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 earlier

In order for the hotel to reopen and welcome guests safely extensive work is now needed to overhaul and treat the plumbing in the old building. The hotel will remain closed while these works sre carried out.

line break

What is Legionnaires' disease

  • A potentially fatal lung infection caused by legionella bacteria
  • It is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person-to-person
  • It is caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water
  • Initial symptoms include a high fever and muscle pain
  • It is treated by intravenous antibiotics
  • Legionella bacteria are commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes, which sometimes find their way into artificial water supply systems
  • NHS advice is that large buildings such as hotels, hospitals and office blocks are more vulnerable to legionella contamination because they have larger, more complex water supply systems and the bacteria can quickly spread
  • Legionnaires' disease is three times more common in men than women and mostly affects people aged over 50
  • An estimated 10% of people who contract the disease will die from complications arising from infection

If you need assistance with risk assessments, training or advice on legionnaires, please get in touch