A British woman is in hospital and at least three other holidaymakers have been infected with potentially fatal Legionella bacteria after staying at Faro’s Adelaide Hotel. The hotel has been forcibly shut down, as health chiefs get to work.
The Adelaide will remain shut until deemed ‘clear of risks’.
Infections first started being noticed in July, writes Público.
Since then there have been three others, attributed to October.
In all, three Brits and a Spanish guest are involved – one of which is still being treated in Faro hospital, although her case is not described as serious.
The source of the infections has been narrowed down to the 19-room hotel where all the guests stayed.
Bacterial tests conducted at the Adelaide have come back positive for sources of Legionella in the building’s water supply.
Thus the hotel will only reopen once health bosses are sure there’s no trace of bacteria left inside.
Authorities are on particular alert following the country’s worst Legionella outbreak in Vila Franca de Xira two years ago, in which a total of 14 people died and hundreds more were infected.
A year later, five other people contracted the bacteria at a hotel in Porto (click here).
And just last month, health authorities had to replace water pipes at Vila Real de Santo António’s health centre after they were found to be contaminated with Legionella.
Even so, Algarve’s health delegate Ana Guerreiro says there’s nothing to worry about.
She denies cases of Legionella are increasing in Portugal, saying instead that health authorities have improved diagnoses and that people know more about it and are alerting authorities when they suspect infections.
Legionella is usually caught when small droplets of contaminated water are inhaled.
It is mostly found in sources of water, such as ponds, rivers and lakes. However, the bacteria can rapidly multiply if they find their way into artificial water supply systems, such as air conditioning systems, according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Large buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, museums and office blocks, are more vulnerable to Legionella contamination because they have larger, more complex water supply systems in which the bacteria can quickly spread, it adds.
Photo: BRUNO FILIPE PIRES/OPEN MEDIA GROUP