Essex gym closed after Legionella bacteria found and customer put in hospital with serious lung disease

Showers have tested positive for Legionella bacteria at Walton-on-the-Naze lifestyles

Showers have tested positive for Legionella bacteria at Walton-on-the-Naze lifestyles - Credit: Archant

Bosses have decided to shut an Essex leisure centre over fears a customer contracted a serious lung infection after using the showers.

Legionella bacteria was discovered in the showers and fitness room at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles, which is run by Tendring District Council (TDC).

A full investigation is currently underway – and today bosses have taken the decision to shut the centre until further notice.

The customer, who contracted Legionnaires’ disease, went to Walton-on-the Naze Lifestyles yesterday to meet with staff. He had been discharged from Colchester General Hospital the previous day.

Tests carried out in the new shower area last month revealed Legionella was present.

Council bosses were told about the results on Wednesday.

Health authorities such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) have been notified.

Most Read

TDC cabinet member for leisure and wellbeing Lynda McWilliams said all necessary procedures have been followed.

“As soon as we were contacted by Public Health England, the showers used by the customer were closed down and test samples taken,” she added.

“All the necessary bodies were informed while we awaited the results of the tests which were carried out at an independent laboratory.

“The council’s corporate health and safety advisor is currently working to find and eliminate the source of the bacteria.”

This will involve pre-flush samples, dismantling and disinfecting the shower heads, flushing the system and taking more samples.

Ms McWilliams added: “Customers’ health and well-being is – and always will be – our top priority and we ask them to bear with us until this matter is resolved.”