Continuing Legionnaires’ Issues ‘Demonstrate Need For Action’

Lawyers Acting For Outbreak Victims Reiterate Calls For Safety Improvements


By Rob Dixon

Illness lawyers acting for more than 50 victims of Legionnaires’ outbreaks in Stoke-on-Trent and Edinburgh last year, have reiterated their calls for a public inquiry after more issues related to legionella bacteria were identified in both Wales and Scotland in recent weeks.

Eastern High School in Cardiff has reopened this week after being closed for seven days following the discovery of traces of the bacteria at the site, just two days into the new school term.

Following those problems, it emerged that the bacteria was also found in the water supply at Cramond Primary School in Edinburgh last week. According to reports, parents have been notified and warned to be vigilant regarding the legionella symptoms among pupils. Work is now underway to tackle the issue but the school is expected to remain open as normal.

No cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported in relation to either school. It has been confirmed that five people have been affected by Legionnaires’ disease in Scotland believed to be linked to compost products.

Following all of these problems, legal specialists at Irwin Mitchell are once again demanding that a full review is undertaken into hygiene standards in place to prevent problems related to legionella.

The team of illness experts, who act for 35 victims of the fatal Legionnaires’ outbreak in Edinburgh and 16 others affected by a similar outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent last year, have recently been calling for a full public inquiry to be held into the increased number of outbreaks of Legionnaires disease.

Suki Chhokar, Partner and Illness expert at Irwin Mitchell, said: “As well as the problems in Stoke and Edinburgh, outbreaks of Legionnaires’ have also been seen in Croydon and Glasgow in the past 18 months.

“When the issues identified at these two schools and the compost concerns are placed in that context, it is clear that serious action is needed to determine if recognised hygiene standards in place to prevent the threat of legionella remain adequate.

“The regulations currently in place over the management of such bacteria were put in place more than a decade ago and were designed to prevent major outbreaks from ever occurring again. Consideration is needed as to whether current standards are actually now fit for purpose.”

Suki added: “We have seen first-hand the awful effects that Legionnaires’ disease has had on so many lives, including people who have lost loved ones as a result of the illness.

“It is of course welcome that action has been taken to address these latest concerns, but the wider overall issue of safety remains one which simply cannot be ignored. Too many issues related to legionella are emerging, so it is time firm action was taken to tackle the issue once and for all.”

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