High Legionella bacteria levels detected at third Tartu establishment
After discovering above-normal concentrations of Legionnaires' disease-causing Legionella bacteria in the water at two other water parks in Tartu this month, the Health Board has been taking additional samples at facilities located in its Southern and Northern regions, and efforts are ongoing. To date, above-limit concentrations of Legionella pneumophila have been detected at three establishments in Tartu.
At the beginning of March, the Health Board confirmed the presence of the pneumonia-causing Legionella bacteria in samples taken from the water pipes at Tartu's V Spa, concentrations of which exceeded permitted limits by as much as nearly 100 times in some places. On Thursday, the authority announced that the presence of Legionella pneumophilia was detected in one of the women's showers at Aura Waterpark as well.
Health Board communications director Imre Kaas told ERR that following the public disclosure of these two cases, they have received complaints from the clients of other waterparks, sauna centers and one sports center as well.
Complaints have chiefly involved people developing symptoms similar to those of Legionnaires' disease after visiting one of these establishments. Legionella bacteria rarely cause serious health issues, but other bacteria can also spread in wet environments as well.
This week, the Health Board has actively been collecting samples both in Southern Estonia as well as in its Northern Region (Harju County and Tallinn), and operations remain underway. To date, samples have been collected from two spas and one sports center.
Should testing reveal the presence of Legionella bacteria at above-limit concentrations, the establishments in question will be provided with further instructions based on the exact results and the extent of the spread.
In the Health Board's Southern Region, the presence of Legionella pneumophilia bacteria has been confirmed at limit-exceeding concentrations at three establishments: V Spa, Aura Waterpark and, as of Friday, a Tartu hotel as well, the name of which the authority declined to publish.
Kaas noted that while water and sports centers' pool water is usually fine, issues often occur with the water in pipes, for which no explicit requirements for regular inspections currently exist.
Based on risk forecasts, the Health Board typically tests spas once a year; its regional departments take monitoring samples once a year as well.
Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!
Editor: Aili Vahtla