Legionnaires' patient death probed

25 Aug 2011

The death of a hospital patient who had been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease has triggered police and health and safety investigations.

The cause of death for the patient, who passed away at Basildon University Hospital in Essex on Saturday, has been attributed to pneumonia.

According to the hospital, the person, who has not been named, was diagnosed with the infection a week before their death.

An investigation is now being undertaken by Essex Police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), while an internal inquiry has been launched by the hospital.

A hospital spokesman said: "Following the patient's death at the weekend, HM coroner for Essex and Thurrock ordered a post mortem to determine the cause of death and Essex Police has launched a joint investigation with the HSE."

Legionnaires' disease, caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila, can be contracted by anyone and may trigger a form of pneumonia which is potentially fatal.

Bacteria related to the disease is commonly located in natural water systems including rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

Copyright Press Association 2011

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