Outbreak of Legionnaires “originated from hotel jacuzzi”
A deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in a Spanish holiday resort which struck down 26 tourists and contributed to the death of one Brit started in the outdoor jacuzzi of an established hotel, say health chiefs.
Investigations started on October 6th when the first case was confirmed in the Pal-manova area of Mallorca. It has now been closed but further action is almost certain.
A statement issued by the health department of the Balearic Government con-firmed: “The General Direc-torate of Public Health and Participation has closed the investigation of the origin of the legionella outbreak detected in the Palmanova area.”
“The research work was completed with the identifi-cation of the source of infection in the hydromassage outdoor facilities located in one of the establishments in the area.”
Between October 6th and November 16th, 26 cases were reported, 20 of them involving holidaymakers from the UK, two from Denmark, one from the Czech Republic, two from France and one from Sweden. One other person working in a tourist establishment in the area also became ill.
Those affected were 15 men and 12 women, aged between 46 and 87. The tourists stayed in Palmanova between August 13th (the first day of stay) and October 13th (the last day of stay). Those affected have recovered, except for the 70-year-old British man with several pathologies (diabetes, chronic leukemia and ischemic heart disease) who died on October 11th in hospital.
Health chiefs say 98 samples were taken and analysed and the presence of the bacterium was identified in 12 of them. These were taken in in the water facilities of the hotels in the area, as well as in the municipal network , restaurants with outdoor nebulizers, irrigation sprinklers, road cleaning machines, the source of a swimming pool and a car wash, among others.
The samples were analysed in the laboratory of Public Health and the National Centre of Microbiology of the Carlos III Institute, where the positive environmental samples of legionella were compared with the clinical samples of those affected by the outbreak.
Although legionella was identified in 12 samples, only those pathogenic samples affected corresponded to the outdoor hydromassage faci-lities of one of the hotel establishments.
During the investigation, health officials ordered the closure of the water supply of a hotel, as well as the water of the showers of the beach, an ornamental fountain and sprinkler irrigation.
Hotels also implemented preventive measures and disinfected their health net-works.
The hotel where the in-fected jacuzzi was found has not been named.
Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria.
Initial symptoms usually include flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain and fever, with symptoms of pneumonia once bacteria begin to infect the lungs.
The disease, which isn’t contagious and can’t be spread directly from person to person, is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.
It can be particularly serious in people with pre-existing health conditions. Most deaths occur in people who are 70 or older.