Blog How Did Legionnaires Start

Hosepipes should always be drained after use!

The Times has reported on the circumstances of Mr Clements fatal disease.

A widow is warning gardeners of an invisible killer lurking in hosepipes. Alison Clements’s husband, Stephen, died in hospital a week after using a hose that had stagnant water in it to scrub their patio.

He is believed to have contracted legionnaires’ disease through inhaling the mist thrown up by the hose’s spray attachment. Public health England asked the local authority to investigate the source.

Mr Clements, 63, a retired builder from Cromer, Norfolk, died on February 24. The legionella bacteria that cause the potentially fatal disease thrive in warm stagnant water and a hosepipe lying on a sun-baked lawn is a perfect host.

Mrs Clements, 61, his wife of 43 years, said: “Stephen had cleaned the patio earlier in the year and left the hose out across the lawn filled with water. In the winter sun, it was the perfect temperature for the bacteria to breed.

“He was cleaning the terrace with a stiff broom and the garden hose on spray. My husband had a heart condition but was active and well.”

He fell ill with an upset stomach but it rapidly developed into pneumonia. Mrs Clements said: “He spent his last two days in intensive care at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The antibiotics weren’t working on the pneumonia, his heart rate was going up and his kidneys began to fail.” He is survived by his widow, two children, and two young grandchildren.

Mrs Clements said: “We had no idea that a garden hose could be so lethal. I don’t want other people who love looking after their gardens to go through what we’re going through.”

A North Norfolk district council spokesman confirmed that samples had been taken but the results were inconclusive. The spokesman said: “We were asked by Public Health England to investigate Mr Clements’s case.

“This involved taking water samples from the Clements’s property and, although legionella bacteria were found in the hosepipe, tests associating that strain with Mr Clements’s were inconclusive. No other samples from the Clements’ property contained the bacteria.”

Legionella can come from a number of sources, including shower heads and air conditioning systems. Symptoms include a flu-like illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches and fever, leading on to pneumonia. It can be treated with antibiotics.

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