Legionella bug closes Paulton maternity unit again

Paulton Hospital
Image caption The post and antenatal departments remain open

Part of a hospital maternity unit has closed for the second time in four months after a strain of legionella was found in the water system.

Paulton Birth Centre in Somerset was shut in March after traces of the bacteria were discovered.

NHS Property Services, which owns and manages the centre, said it has been closed to new births since Friday.

The post and antenatal departments remain open. No date has been given for when the centre will fully reopen.

Services at the unit are provided by Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

What is legionella?

  • A bacteria commonly found in water
  • It multiplies where temperatures are between 20-45°C and nutrients are available
  • If bacteria is inhaled, it can lead to Legionnaires' disease - a potentially fatal type of pneumonia
  • Those more at risk include the elderly, smokers, alcoholics and those with cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory or kidney disease

Source: Health and Safety Executive

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