Man dies from Legionnaire’s Disease in Emmer Green

NEWS ARCHIVE – June 2013

A local Reading newspaper has reported that,

A 67-year-old Emmer Green man died from Legionnaire’s Disease that came from the water tank in his own home.

David James, of Kidmore End Road, had been suffering Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that lowered his resistance to infection.

Coroner Peter Bedford heard at an inquest last Tuesday that no one else in his family had caught the disease.

His wife Caroline told the inquest her husband began to suffer headaches, night sweats and delirium.

His GP thought the illness was connected with his lymphoma and organised an appointment with an oncologist.

However, because Mr James suffered memory loss, he was taken to hospital.

He was admitted on Thursday October 14 last year with severe pneumonia, and transferred to intensive care the next day.

Microbiological tests showed he had a Legionnella infection.

He failed to respond to treatment and died in Royal Berkshire Hospital on Saturday, October 16.

Environmental health officer Deirdre O’Brien said that although the water heating system in the family home had high water temperatures that would ordinarily be expected to kill the bacteria, there was a high level of limescale where it could collect.

She said there were high levels of a Legionnella strain in the water tank and shower heads in his home which – although it was not the same as the one found in Mr James – was nevertheless the most likely source of his infection.

Tests were also carried out at an Oxfordshire bowling club he frequented, but there was no report back from there.

Mr James’s family expressed disappointment that the tests from the bowling club were not available at the inquest, but Miss O’Brien said she would have certainly have been informed if there was a positive test.

Mr Bedford, recording a narrative verdict, said Mr James had died from Legionella pneumonia, the source of which had been traced to his home address.

The lymphoma compromised his immune system which increased his risk of contracting such an infection.

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