legionella bacteria biofilm

Deep Dive of Legionella Horror Stories

Legionella, Salmonella, E-Coli, Pseudomonas…these are just some of the characters you don’t want jumping out or lurking in your water systems!

With spooky season now here terrifying surprises at our doors tonight could be the very least of your worries.

We take a deep dive into the pipes and reveal some water horror stories of the past.

Legionella Outbreaks and Breaches

The fear of legionnaire’s can be traced back to 1976. It was named after its first outbreak in Philadelphia at an American legion convention causing 221 people to come down with the illness with 34 deaths.

Since then, there has been many more outbreaks leaving businesses fearing the HSE, their bank balance and peoples lives.

172 Cases of Legionella and 7 Deaths

In 2002 a badly maintained air conditioning system led to one of the worst outbreaks in history.

The outbreak occurred in Barrow in Furness (Cumbria) with the first fatality being recorded in August 2002.

The council was up for manslaughter charges with 7 deaths and 172 cases to answer for.

In the end the matter was settled by the contractor with £1.5m costs in damages.

Care Home Hit With Huge Bill

Dangerous bacteria preys on the elderly and those with underlying health problems, so it is no surprise that we hear of cases in care homes. Back in 2018, a major care home business was fined £3m plus costs after the company failed to implement the necessary controls and monitoring measures to safely manage their hot and cold water systems.

From falsely recorded temperature readings to a death in the care home the mistakes had been piling up and even raised internally since 2012.

Biofilm Hits Lethal Levels on the Tyne

Another 2018 prosecution, where the defending manufacturing company racked up a fine of £800,000 plus costs.

Bacteria was allowed to grow to potentially lethal levels within the water supply and ended up impacting 6 workers and even members of the public who fell seriously ill with Legionnaires disease.

The failings linked back to the management of the water-cooling systems within the factory. The business had already previously been served notices by the HSE relating to legionella.

£1M Display Hot Tub Breach

In 2017 a wholesale business was left in disarray following the deaths of 2 men from Legionnaires disease. A lack of maintenance and the failure to risk assess led to harmful levels building up in the display model of the hot tub affected more than twenty others.

Hotel Administration

A legionella outbreak can have detrimental impacts on both the public and businesses and a 40 bedroom hotel felt the full force of an outbreak which resulted in a tragic death of one of it’s occupants.

A 69 year old woman suffered a stroke as a result of legionnaires’ disease just 2 days after returning home from the hotel she was staying at with her husband.

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