Hot tub ‘blamed’ for Legionnaires’ outbreak

Investigations into the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent have identified the most likely probable source the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced.

In its latest updates on the recent outbreak in the city, the HPA said the likely source is a hot tub based at JTF Warehouse in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent.

HSE and city council environmental health specialists are, however, continuing to take samples from premises across Stoke in order to eliminate all potential sources from the investigation.

Samples from the JTF Warehouse hot tub were confirmed by the HPA’s specialist lab as being an unusual strain of Legionella bacteria. The strain matched those taken from patients.

The HPA also took detailed histories from the confirmed cases and commented that 17 of the 18 confirmed cases visited this warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill.

It is of course a well known fact that spa pools are known to be effective mechanisms for spreading Legionella infection.

As well as the Fenton store, JTF operates 10 other “mega discount” warehouses across the Midlands and North of England.

Another confirmed case of Legionnaires’ was reported in Stoke bringing the total to 19.

Legionnaires’ disease a potentially fatal form of pneumonia is caused by inhaling small droplets of water contaminated by Legionella bacteria. It can take up to two weeks after exposure for symptoms to develop.

The majority of cases are reported as single (isolated) cases but outbreaks can occur and around 10-15% of patients will die from the disease.