Swift action by NHS staff at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, has limited the spread of Legionnaires’ disease after it was contracted by an elderly patient.
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust staff immediately began disinfecting showers and bath fittings. The water system was completely flushed, and showers, baths and water births temporarily suspended.
Legionnaires’ disease is most likely to affect those with chronic lung and heart disease or a compromised immune system. It cannot be spread from person to person, and is caught by inhaling water droplets that carry the bacteria, which occur naturally in the environment.
The trust reports that another person admitted to William Harvey was already ill with the disease. The patient had visited the hospital for an out-patient appointment during the previous two weeks.
Meanwhile, a patient with no known connection to the William Harvey Hospital died after being admitted to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital already suffering from with the disease.