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Investigations ongoing following legionella cases in Wales

04 September 2019

Over the past 12 months 11 cases of Legionnaires' disease have been reported in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Public Health Wales has confirmed.

Each case has been investigated but no common link has been discovered to date, although concern has been raised over the unusually high number of cases within the area.

According to WalesOnline, Public Health Wales has "declared a cluster", but its investigations have shown that it cannot be defined as a Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

With no evidence emerging to link the 11 cases, it has been further stated that individual risk factors, including travel abroad, has added to the complexity of the investigation.

As part of its supportive actions, Public Health Wales has advised local employers to check their water management practices to ensure they are compliant.

Additional emphasis on the high number of cases was provided through stating that the average number of cases of Legionnaires' disease in Wales is 30, which are usually spread throughout the country.

Previous outbreaks of the disease have been attributed to cooling towers in previous years, which has been largely resolved through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) working with owners to ensure these are correctly maintained.

Legionella bacteria has been seen to be more likely to multiply in standing or stagnant water, particularly where sludge has been allowed to build up in pipework.

Correct procedures applied to the management of water systems, explained within the L8 Code Practice, are considered to be the most effective means for facilities to avoid the issue.

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