NHS England has issued an urgent health alert after an infant was admitted to intensive care suffering from a confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease.
In light of the case, experts at leading legionella risk management company, Legionella Control International are now working closely with their own NHS and health sector clients to investigate the conditions surrounding the case and rapidly implement measures to control the risks of further contamination.
Rob Boon, head of Legionella Control Internationals’ London team said “Experts at Legionella Control International are working closely with our NHS and health sector clients to help them identify and assess any possible risks similar to those that led to this incredibly rare case.”
Samples taken from the heated birthing pool in which the child was born have tested positive for legionella bacteria which is thought to be directly linked to the baby’s serious lung infection. In light of the current situation, tens of thousands of women across the UK have been warned against home water births and the use of heated birthing pools until a complete risk assessment and management strategy have been put into place.
Professor Nick Phin, Public Health England’s head of Legionnaires’ disease control, said “This is an extremely unusual situation, which we are taking very seriously… As a precaution, we advise that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labor and where the temperature is then maintained by use of a heater and pump, are not used in the home setting, while we investigate further and until definitive advice on disinfection and safety is available.”
While statistics indicate that there are around 350-400 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ annually, the majority appear in older patients and it is extremely unusual to see a baby develop the disease. In fact, between 1990 and 2011 there was just one reported case of a child contracting the bacterial infection.
The breaking case highlights the absolute importance of maintaining water systems and carrying out regular maintenance, inspections and staff safety and awareness training.
Source: Legionella Control International, adapted.