Legionella case shows preventative measures are vital

Published:  01 March, 2016

Preventative measures are vital to combat Legionnaire's Disease, a manufacturer has warned, following the death of a 68-year-old man at a Bath hospital last year.

Terry Brooks, 68, died of pneumonia, caused by Legionella, while receiving chemotherapy as an inpatient at the Royal United Hospital, in Bath. At the recent inquest, a jury found that Mr Brooks contracted the disease from the hospital's water supply, which was contaminated with the Legionella bacteria as a result of a malfunctioning water supply and distribution system.

Chris Meir, sales director at Andrews Water Heaters, said the need for preventative measures remains a priority for manufacturers, specifiers and estate managers alike.

"While new outbreaks of Legionella have greatly diminished in this country, it's saddening to hear that lives are still being lost because the correct procedures are not in place," he said. "To combat the risk of Legionella, hot water must be stored and distributed above 60ºc to ensure the bacteria cannot survive. In the case at Royal United Hospital, a broken pump meant that the return temperature was not hot enough to prevent bacteria growth, demonstrating the importance of regular and thorough system checks and servicing.

"To compound the issue, a lack of access to the original water system diagrams meant that the estate manager was unaware both that the broken pump existed and that there were issues with the pump design, which meant that Legionella bacteria would remain in the system long after remedial actions were taken."

The hospital has since carried out a wide range of improvements to its systems.

 

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