Belfast Telegraph

Legionnaires' disease bacteria found in Magilligan Prison's water system

By Harriet Crawford

The quantity of Legionnaires' disease bacteria found in a prison's tap was 40,000 times above the safe level, an inquest has heard.

After the death of a 64-year-old male prisoner, "unacceptable" levels of legionella were discovered in Magilligan Prison's water system.

John Joseph Russell died in February 2007 after being exposed to dangerous bacteria in Magilligan Prison's healthcare centre, the court heard.

The levels of the bacteria found in the water system were "unacceptable and potentially hazardous", Dr Ian Wilson, a consultant clinical scientist for Northern Ireland Public Health, told the inquest. In one hot tap, bacteria levels reached 40,000 times safe levels.

Mr Russell was admitted to hospital with severe pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria, according to deputy state pathologist Dr Alistair Bentley. He died in the Causeway Hospital 10 days later. The inquest continues this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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