Accidents Abroad

Why it’s important to highlight the risks from Legionnaires’ disease as travel abroad increases

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You can get Legionnaires’ disease if you breathe in tiny droplets of water containing bacteria that cause an infection in the lungs, which can be serious.

Poor conditions at a hotel, a holiday resort or on a cruise ship could be responsible for the infections because of their complex water systems. The two main factors that help Legionella spread are a water temperature between 20 and 45°C and a food source in the water for bacteria such as limescale, rust or algae.

You can get Legionnaires’ disease from things like:

  • air conditioning systems
  • humidifiers
  • spa pools and hot tubs
  • taps and showers that are not used often

Our expert holiday illness compensation claims solicitors are keen to highlight the risks from Legionnaires’ disease when travelling abroad. Legionnaires’ disease isn’t common, but it can be serious and leave you with a host of unpleasant symptoms that stop you enjoying your holiday, prevent you from returning to work or experiencing a prolonged period of ill health.

If you’ve been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and your hotel or resort management or tour operator were negligent, you could be entitled to compensation.

Anne Thomson, Litigation Executive in our Travel team at Hudgell Solicitors, has put together this useful guide on the illness and how you may be able to claim.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:

  • a cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or discomfort, particularly when breathing or coughing
  • a high temperature
  • flu-like symptoms

You should seek an urgent appointment with your GP or a local doctor if the symptoms persist for more than a few weeks and you should tell them where you’ve been in the last 10 days, such as if you stayed in a hotel, spa or even a hospital. There is no vaccine available for Legionnaires’ disease, which requires antibiotic treatment following diagnosis.

Cruise Ships

Because the infection spreads through inhaling contaminated water, cruise ship passengers can be at risk of Legionnaires’ disease from the drinking water that boats store onboard as well as from the air conditioning, showers, spa areas, hot tubs and swimming pools.

Over the years, cruise liners have been held liable and been the subject of claims or lawsuits for passengers becoming ill or even dying from Legionnaires’ disease contracted while onboard. When two or more cases are detected on the same cruise, it is likely that this is the source of the infection.

Hotels and Resorts

As greater awareness of the infection and measures to prevent it are now in place, the overwhelming majority of hotels today will never experience an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. However, the risk still exists.

Legionella Control International, one of the world’s leading Legionella risk management specialists, says: “Since Legionella bacteria can contaminate water droplets, any part of a hotel that has water present carries a risk of people being exposed to the bacteria should it be present.

“Not all Legionella risk areas are obvious, such as shower heads and taps, others are less obvious, such as: indoor fountains and water features; whirlpool baths, spa pools, hot tubs, cooling towers and air conditioning anywhere around the hotel grounds; condensers; misting and irrigation systems; and food displays that use humidified air.”

TUI agrees Legionnaires’ disease compensation

A woman who was taken so severely ill after returning home from holiday in Goa that she needed hospital treatment was awarded £6,750 damages after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Legionnaires’ disease.

The woman, from the West Midlands, spent two weeks at the Hard Rock Hotel on a package holiday booked through tour operator TUI.

An independent medical expert consulted as part of the case by Hudgell Solicitors was of the opinion that the infection was likely acquired from the hotel, most likely from a mist fan, but also possibly from the air-conditioning or showers.

Learn more: Damages for holidaymaker who needed hospital treatment for Legionnaires’ disease

Seven Legionnaires’ disease cases reported at same hotel

Thomas Molloy, of Beverley, East Yorkshire, spent six days on a hospital Acute Admissions Unit and needed antibiotics to treat Legionnaires’ disease.

He began to feel unwell on the last day of his holiday at a hotel in Turkey. When he got home he felt so ill he went to hospital, where was told he had the lung infection and was placed on antibiotics.

Investigations by Hudgell Solicitors revealed there were at least seven cases of Legionnaires’ Disease  reported by holidaymakers who stayed at the same hotel which was then contacted and asked to demonstrate its commitment to ensuring standards for controlling legionella in water systems have been met and maintained to protect guests and staff.

Read more: Holidaymaker instructs lawyers after being hospitalised with Legionnaires disease 

Legionnaires Disease – Claim Compensation

If you contracted Legionnaires’ disease while on holiday you could be entitled to compensation. The amount you can claim depends on the length and severity of your illness. To begin your claim click here.

Contracting an illness while travelling overseas for work or leisure can be a frightening experience. Where the sickness could have been avoided, our solicitors are here to help you pursue a compensation claim against those responsible — holding them to account to ensure you’re fully compensated for your suffering and loss. You can also receive expert advice from our specialists if you think you might be eligible to make a holiday injury claim.

Read more: Holiday Illness Abroad Claims

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Why it’s important to highlight the risks from Legionnaires’ disease as travel abroad increases

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