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22 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — A luxury hotel in Amsterdam was evacuated on Thursday evening after traces of the Legionnaires' bacteria were detected in the building.
The bacteria — which can cause the potentially deadly Legionnaires' disease — was discovered in the Amstel Hotel during a routine health and safety inspection.
Health board officials ordered a ban on guests and personnel taking showers and baths in the hotel.
The management decided as a precaution to close the hotel pending the results of further tests, probably until Monday. The guests were transferred to other high-class hotels in Amsterdam.
The Amstel Hotel was first opened in 1867 and currently has 55 rooms and 24 larger suites. A host of celebrities have have stayed at the hotel while in Amsterdam. The most recent include Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger.
Huub Verweij of Amsterdam's hotel and catering association said the management's decision was "rigorous but effective". He told news agency ANP the temporary closure was the right thing to do if there was any suggestions of a risk to the guests' health.
The bacteria is spread through contaminated water and ventilation pipes.
Cases involving the bacteria that can cause high fever and pneumonia date back to 1947. People infected by the disease can die if not treated with antibiotics.
The disease was first identified and got its name after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia killed 29 people in 1976.
The last major outbreak in the Netherlands occurred at the Westfriese Flora flower exhibition in Bovenkarspel in 1999 when 32 people died.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news
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