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Hospital Closed Temporarily Following Discovery of Legionella

Posted on January 25, 2013

A community hospital in East Yorkshire was recently forced to close temporarily following the discovery of a strain of the Legionella bacteria. The strain was found within the water system during routine testing and as a result all services at the hospital were closed from the 21st December.

The make-up of legionella

The NHS did stress however that the strain of bacterium found at Withernsea Community Hospital was not that of pneumophila which can lead to Legionnaires’ Disease but still made sure all patients were moved to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.

The problem was found to be in the water within the hospital rather than the main supply, which meant that the problem could easily be kept under control whilst the necessary tests and chemical cleaning were completed.

Two tests were completed on the water within the system, the first of which focused on determining whether the water was clear of the bacteria after being cleaned and chlorinated. The second test involved finding the cause of the problem and from that working out what could be done to prevent the incident arising again in the future.

Following the results of these tests and the resolution of the problem, the hospital was all set to reopen again to patients this week, with the minor injuries, outpatients and dental centre set to open first before the ward reopens the following day.

This type of problem can be caused by a degrading water tank although it is not reported if this was the source in this particular case but having recently completed the refurbishment of two concrete water tanks at a different hospital in the North of England, COVAC can’t stress enough how important it is to act on these problems quickly and, fortunately, that certainly seems to have been the case in this latest incident.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-20853082

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