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Woman dies from Legionnaires' disease after staying at Ludlow hotel

By Jonny Drury | Ludlow | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A hotel has been closed due to an outbreak of Legionnares' disease which led to a death of a woman guest.

The Feathers Hotel

The Feathers Hotel in Ludlow has announced the temporary closure as a precautionary measure after advice from Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands and Shropshire Council.

The voluntary closure comes after laboratory test results establishing links between Legionella bacteria found in water samples from the hotel plumbing, and two separate confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in guests, both from Merseyside, who stayed at the hotel.

The first case was diagnosed in April 2017 and has recovered. The most recently diagnosed guest, a woman in her late 60s who stayed at the hotel in July, died.

Dr David Kirrage, a consultant with PHE West Midlands Health Protection Team, said extensive work is needed at the hotel before it will be able to re-open.

He said: "My heartfelt condolences go out to those affected by this incident.

"On the discovery of the presence of Legionella at the hotel, the management implemented public health advice in order to minimise exposure to guests and staff.

"It closed the affected rooms, disinfected the water system and employed heating contractors to investigate the boilers and pipework.

“Isolated cases of Legionella infection are reported to us on a regular basis and investigated as a matter of routine. However results from PHE laboratories on September 11 confirmed that the strain of Legionella located in the hotel is indistinguishable from the samples taken from the two cases.

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"Extensive work is now needed to overhaul and treat the plumbing in such an old building, so that guests can fully enjoy the facilities.

"The hotel has decided that with such a complex building it is easier and minimises risks to the public to close the hotel temporarily to conduct remedial works. Environmental Health Officers at Shropshire Council will continue to take water samples from the hotel during this time to test for the bacteria."

The hotel is an historic inn that was constructed back in 1619, and is known as of Ludlow's best known listed buildings.

Following the test results, the hotel is now writing to guests who have stayed at the hotel in the last two weeks, advising them to make contact if they have experienced symptoms of the serious lung disease.

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Early symptoms of the disease include a 'flu-like' illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever which can then lead to pneumonia.

The bacteria is widely distributed in the environment and can be found in hot and cold water systems, and in forms of industrial and commercial water cooling systems.

Church Stretton and Craven Arms councillor Lee Chapman, cabinet member for adult social care, health and housing, has praised the hotel proprietor for taking steps to ensure future customer safety.

He added: "I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families affected by this very unfortunate incident. The health and safety of our residents and visitors in Shropshire is a key priority and Shropshire council will always strongly encourage employers to make health and safety improvements that protect their customers and staff.

“Our Public Protection Team provides advice on health and safety in the workplace including the control of Legionella bacteria in a wide range of water systems. The teams has been working closely with the proprietor of the hotel and under the direction of Public health England to investigate the incident and ensure the right measures are in place to resolve this issue.

“Businesses have a clear responsibility to ensure that customers, staff and other visitors are safe on their premises and protected from any health hazards. It is re-assuring to know that the proprietor is taking the necessary steps and arrangement to do this.”

Nobody at The Feathers was available for comment.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales

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