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Legionnaire's Disease

Volume 79: debated on Monday 20 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what basis details of the treatment for water supplies, Hatacide LP5, were excluded from his Department's guidelines to control legionnaire's disease circulated to area health authorities; and if he will make a statement.

Biocides have not been excluded from our Department's guidelines on the control of legionnaire's disease as they can play an important role in water treatment. However, where our guidance states that chlorine should be used, we do not consider that biocides are a suitable alternative. In our opinion, sufficient statistical evidence has not been published to support the claims of the manufacturers and to justify the substitution of the biocide Hatacide LP5, for chlorine in the six monthly disinfection of cooling towers and evaporative condensers. The best information available indicates that none of the reported outbreaks of legionnaire's disease has been associated with a water cooling system that has received regular conventional treatment. Comparisons of the conventional treatment of water in evaporative condensers and cooling towers with treatment using the large range of biocides available commercially would entail lengthy control tests in-situ.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people are known by his Department or the communicable disease surveillance centre to have died of legionnaire's disease in the last year.

There have been 29 deaths from confirmed cases of legionnaire's disease where the onset of illness incurred in the last 12 months.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is now in a position to make a statement on the source of legionnaire's disease in Stafford.

I shall be making an announcement very shortly about the inquiry into the outbreak of legionnaire's disease. The source of the outbreak is something which the inquiry will want to consider.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to the Minister of State's answer of 14 May,Official Report, column 118, what was the source of infection in the cases of legionnaire's disease in Portsmouth, Bristol, Birmingham, Leicester, Sheffield and London, respectively.

The source of infection in these cases has not been confirmed and may never be confirmed. The history of this disease, since it was first identified, has always included a number of sporadic and sometimes isolated cases where the source of infection remains undetermined.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to the Minister of State's Answer of 14 May,Official Report, column 118, whether he will instruct the communicable disease surveillance centre to notify him of all cases of legionnaire's disease for the time being.

Arrangements have already been made for the communicable disease surveillance centre to advise us of all confirmed cases for the time being.

(i) Hospitals approved for complete closure May 1979 to December 1979
Region and Area/DistrictHospitalNumber of bedsDate approved
Northern
DurhamDarlington Memorial Hospital, Hunden's Unit125July 1979
Yorkshire
HumbersideTownend Maternity Hospital17August 1979
Trent
DerbysideNightingale Maternity Home34July 1979
SheffieldWales Court Hospital, Sheffield79December 1979
North West Thames
BarnetSt. Elizabeth's Hospital, Barnet40June 1979
BarnetOrme Lodge, Barnet22December 1979
BarnetStanmore Cottage Hospital14December 1979
North East Thames
Camden and IslingtonGarrett Anderson Maternity Home32September 1979
South East Thames
West LambethHolmhurst Hospital24December 1979
South West Thames
Mid SurreySchiff Hospital, Surrey84December 1979
Wessex
DorsetCapesthorne children's Unit, Dorset22May 1979
Oxford
BerkshirePeppard Hospital, Berkshire136November 1979
OxfordshireCowley Road Hospital172November 1979
Mersey
ChesterBarrowmore Hospital, Chester118June 1979

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to the Minister of State's Answer of 14 May,Official Report, column 118, whether any more people have died of legionnaire's disease in Stafford.

By 10 am on 20 May, a total of 37 people showing the symptoms of acute respiratory illness had died since the beginning of the outbreak of legionnaire's disease in Stafford. Of these, 14 were confirmed cases of legionnaire's disease.