Man contracts Legionnaires' bug after working near Leicester school
A plumber is in hospital with Legionnaires' disease after working on a disused building at a city college.
It is thought the man became infected with the potentially fatal bug while working at New College, in New Parks.
He is recovering in hospital, while a colleague is also undergoing tests for the disease.
Leicester City Council bosses said they were confident the disease was isolated to a disused building which staff and students have not had access to for about seven years.
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They said there was no risk to either the staff or the 900 students at the college.
Parents received a letter about the disease last night.
The grandmother of one student, who asked not to be named, said: "It is worrying and I hope the kids don't go nosing around that area now.
"They have said they don't know for certain where it came from, so I hope they do keep investigating until they find out because I think people deserve to know."
A council spokesman said that, as a precaution, water samples were being taken across the college site, the school's water system was being disinfected and showers were not being used.
Deb Watson, the city council's director of public health and health improvement, said: "We can confirm that a specialist contractor working in a disused building on the site of New College has become ill with Legionnaires' disease.
"The building, which is being decommissioned, is not accessed by staff or students and the water source thought to be affected was contained in a disconnected heating system.
"We are confident that the legionella is isolated to the disused building and there is no risk to staff or pupils, but as a precautionary measure water samples have been taken across the college site."
Legionnaires' disease is a pneumonia caused by the bacterium legionella pneumophila, which produces flu-like symptoms.
Infection normally occurs after fine airborne particles containing the bacteria are released from an infected water source.
It can take between two and 10 days for infected people to show symptoms.
The infected worker was contracted by the city council to dismantle the building as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme.
He became unwell on Friday and was admitted to hospital on Monday. The bug's incubation period means he is likely to have become infected between February 19 and 27.
Principal Jane Brown said: "I'd like to reassure parents that all the necessary measures have been put into place to ensure the safety of our students."
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) for the East Midlands is supporting the council in investigating the case, and a spokeswoman confirmed it was most likely that the man was exposed to the bug in Leicester.
Dr Philip Monk, consultant in communicable disease control at HPA East Midlands, said: "We are looking into the case with colleagues from Leicester City Council's environmental health department."