Patient at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital treated for Legionnaires' Disease

Case follows outbreak at hospital's dialysis unit

Pipe networks are the biggest carrier of water-borne bacteria, such as legionella

An investigation is underway following an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

The potentially-deadly bacteria was found to be present in the hospital’s dialysis unit in October.

And it is now feared a patient may have become infected as a result, with Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitting the patient ‘may have acquired’ it while at the unit.

No other patients are thought to be affected and the trust says it has enhanced infection control measures to prevent the risk of it spreading.

A spokesman said: “We recognise this must be a distressing time for our patient and we have been keeping the patient fully informed about this isolated event.

“We are taking further precautions by increasing our water testing to minimise further the chance of this occurring again.”

A joint review by Public Health England and the hospital will consider whether procedures need to be tightened further.

In recent years, Legionella has made it back into the news, with several reported outbreaks in hospitals across the UK.

Hospitals and care facilities are particularly at risk as they are often large buildings with complex water systems through which bacteria can easily spread.

In addition to this, patients and elderly residents are more likely to fall into one of the groups that make them more susceptible to disease, including having an underlying medical condition or weakened immune system.

Legionella is a lung infection which is caught by breathing in tiny droplets of contaminated water. Symptoms include a high fever and muscle pain.

The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but can be fatal in around 10% of cases.

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