Legionnaires disease, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol
A second British man has died after a Legionnaires outbreak in the holiday resort of Benalmadena, on the Costa Del Sol in Spain. Mr Dennis Wills died on Sunday 12 August 2007 after being in intensive care for six weeks.
James Peter Olsen, 68, who like Mr Wills was a resident in the resort, died last month from the same outbreak of the disease which originated in an ice rink.
Eighteen people, around half of whom are British, have been infected with the illness. Infection can occur after inhaling contaminated water from sources including showers, air conditioning units and whirlpool spas.
It has been alleged that the owners of the Club Municipal de Hielo failed to take action despite repeated safety warnings as the recently opened ice skating rink had failed to pass inspections on two previous visits due to the discovery of foreign bacteria.
Prosecutions for manslaughter are reportedly being considered against the owners by state prosecutors, while a number of lawsuits have been lodged already in the courts by victims or family members.
Clive Garner, Head of holiday claims at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, who has acted for many victims of Legionnaires disease in Spain and the UK said today, "If the management did ignore previous warning signs, and remained open, then they showed a blatant disregard for the safety of members of the public, both within the rink and outside it.
"Legionnaires disease is obviously a very serious illness. For many victims, as in this case, it can be fatal.
"Having to explain to victims and their families that the illness and the loss of loved ones has been caused by a failure to follow simple common sense health & safety guidelines is a message no one should have to convey. This kind of outbreak simply should not happen.
"We welcome the Spanish Authorities decision to consider manslaughter charges. As well as the payment of substantial compensation for the losses suffered by victims and their families, it is essential that organisations are deterred from cutting corners on safety issues and putting the health and welfare of the public at risk. Companies must learn to stop putting profits before people."
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