Tower Hamlets death from legionnaires’ disease sparks major inquiry

PUBLISHED: 11:57 07 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:57 07 January 2014

Health bosses are carrying out a major investigation after a person died from legionnaires’ disease in the borough last week.

Officials at Public Health England confirmed the death, adding that the individual had pre-existing health conditions.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant in communicable disease control at PHE’s North East and North Central London Health Protection Team, said:

“We are currently working with environmental health officers from Tower Hamlets to investigate the source of the infection but there have been no further reported cases.”

Legionella bacteria are widely distributed in the environment and can live in all types of water including natural sources, such as rivers and streams, and artificial water sources, such as water towers, hot and cold water systems and spa pools.

These bacteria only become a risk to health when a problem occurs in the maintenance of water systems. People become infected when they inhale legionella bacteria which are aerosolised from a contaminated source.

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