Monitoring in the spotlight after Legionella outbreak
12 July 2006 , AMSTERDAM — Criticism is mounting in the Netherlands over the lack of supervision of cooling towers, one of the potential breeding grounds for Legionella.12 July 2006
AMSTERDAM — Criticism is mounting in the Netherlands over the lack of supervision of cooling towers, one of the potential breeding grounds for Legionella.
Four new cases of Legionella have been detected, bringing the number of people infected in the Amsterdam outbreak to 23, it was reported on Wednesday.
An elderly man died in Amsterdam a few days ago as a result of the bacteria, which in its most serious form can cause Legionnaires disease. Amsterdam's health authority GGD has not yet found the source of the problem.
Aqua Nederland, the association for the water treatment industry in the Netherlands, said there are at least several hundred cooling towers in the Dutch capital.
But there GGD said it has found the government does not carry out adequate monitoring for the presence Legionella in cooling towers. There does not even appear to be a national registry to record of buildings with such towers.
"An overview would be really handy to have, the GGD's Anneke can der Hoek told newspaper 'AD'. "It would be very useful if there was a central registry and checks were carried out," she said.
The Labour Inspectorate (Arbeidsinspectie) checks factories and offices to identify potential risks for workers and people visiting or passing by. But Legionella is not a priority for the inspectorate and it does not have information on how many businesses have cool towers for air conditioning.
Figures from 2002 revealed that 80 percent of businesses had not worked out plans to halt the growth and spread of Legionella, and the rest carried out no checks at all.
This led to a brochure being circulated to emphasise the importance of monitoring for the bacteria.
In March 1999, 200 people became ill and 32 people died during an outbreak at a flower exhibition in the Netherlands. The source of the bacteria was traced to a whirlpool and a moisturiser in the exhibition area.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news