Town hall: Legionnaire's no problem

THERE is no need to fear an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Ipswich.That was the message from the Ipswich borough council as it sought to reassure residents after an outbreak continued to cast a shadow over Cumbria where the feared disease has killed one person and left dozens more seriously ill.

THERE is no need to fear an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Ipswich.

That was the message from the Ipswich borough council as it sought to reassure residents after an outbreak continued to cast a shadow over Cumbria where the feared disease has killed one person and left dozens more seriously ill.

But a spokesman for Ipswich borough council said a rigorous checking procedure should put people's minds at ease.

The Cumbria outbreak, which is the largest in the UK for a decade, is believed to have started from an air conditioning unit in an arts and civic centre.


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A council official responsible for maintaining the unit has been suspended pending a Health and Safety Executive investigation.

But a Ipswich council spokesman said there was no need to fear a similar outbreak here.

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He said: "We inspect at least 3,000 premises on a regular basis and, to the best of our knowledge, there are no problems in Ipswich."

An inquest into the death of the 88-year-old man in Britain's biggest outbreak for more than a decade was being opened was opened yesterday

Richard Macaulay, of Smeaton Street in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, died in

hospital on Friday, just days after being admitted suffering from Legionnaires'

disease.

Nearly 100 people were in hospital yesterday with either confirmed or suspected cases of Legionnaires' disease, making it the biggest outbreak in Britain for more than a decade.

Eighteen more were in intensive care wards at hospitals across north west England, five of whom were giving doctors cause for concern.

Factfile:

Legionnaires' disease acquired its name in 1976 from an outbreak of pneumonia at a convention of the American Legion in Philadelphia. The bug which cause the outbreak was later called Legionella.

The disease cannot be passed from person to person. It is normally contracted from breathing in mists from air conditioning units, whirlpool spas or showers.

Legionella bacteria live in water and thrive when the water is warm and stagnant.

Domestic water systems are unlikely to cause outbreaks of the disease as the turnover of water is too high to allow stagnation.

People with lung conditions and smokers are most at risk of contracting the disease.

About half of all Legionnaires' disease cases in the UK are linked to trips abroad.

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