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Legionnaires’ deaths Updated: IT WAS THE DIAMANTE BEACH HOTEL, CALPE.
02 February 2012 @ 20:34

TWO BRITISH tourists died in a Costa Blanca hospital this week after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease struck the resort of Calpe.

A total of six guests, including one Spanish national, all aged in their seventies and eighties were taken to the Benidorm Clinic last month after falling ill at a hotel in the town. The two pensioners lost their lives on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The five British tourists were holidaying with Saga. It is understood another five customers have developed the disease after returning home to the UK following breaks in Spain.

Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling tiny infected droplets of water in the air. The incubation period is 10 to 12 days and health chiefs warn further cases could occur.

But the source of the outbreak remains a mystery. Scientists from the Spanish Health Authority and an expert from Saga have inspected the hotel but were unable to find traces of the bacteria.


A spokesman for the British Consulate in Alicante confirmed the two deaths of two British nationals and said consular assistance was being given to those affected and their families.

Paul Green, a spokesman for Saga Holidays, said the company was informed on January 14th a guest at a hotel in Calpe had fallen ill with a form of pneumonia.

“Five of our clients were taken to hospital for treatment although one was discharged after being successfully treated with antibiotics,” he said.

“When you contract Legionnaires’ you first develop a ‘flu-type illness and all our customers in the hotel were asked whether they had such symptoms and that process revealed the five who needed treatment.

“We also contacted customers who have returned to the UK over the previous weeks and that revealed another five.”


Saga holidaymakers at the hotel were transferred to alternative accommodation and the company also sent out additional staff to help care for guests in the crisis.

“It is vital for us at Saga that we do the right thing as quickly as possible and we quickly provided support for customers and the families of those taken ill.”

Mr Green said Saga’s own expert recommended changes to some of the hotel’s plumbing – while the Spanish authorities have cleaned the whole water system.

“Even though the hotel has been given a clean bill of health, we will not use it for our customers until the work is completed and it has been tested again for the bacteria.”

News of the outbreak only became public this week after a Department of Health warning – part of a well-oiled Europe wide protocol for notifying an outbreak of Legionnaires’ – was sent by a UK doctor to a friend who runs a local website.


The letter, dated 19th January, was circulated to GPs, emergency departments, consultants in communicable diseases, and the medical directors of NHS trusts.

Written by Helen Shirley-Quirk, the interim director of health protection, it said “This alert is to advise you of a possible outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease associated with a hotel in Calpe, Costa Blanca, Spain.

“The HPA has received notifications of four confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease and a probable fifth case associated with a hotel in this area.”

She also said: “Clinicians are asked to consider Legionnaires disease as a possible diagnosis in patients who may present with flu-like symptoms and/or lower respiratory tract symptoms and who have returned from Calpe in the last two weeks.”

RTN has taken an editorial decision not to name the hotel involved at this stage.

Source: RTN


UPDATED 2nd February.



Like 0


Rachel said:
05 February 2012 @ 10:06

Very sad for the families of the people who died, but also sad for Saga and the Diamante. Legionnaire's disease is hard to find, and even hotels that do all the necessary pipes cleaning can still have problems.

I've traveled with Saga several times and, in fact, will be going with them to Albir in just 8 weeks. They're an excellent company.

I'm sure Saga dealt with things in Calpe very fast though, as soon as they knew their was a health risk. They have a reputation for the best customer service of just about any similar company. My parents travel with them three or four times a year (that's how I get to go, as I'm not the requisite 50 years old yet :), and rave about what great service they get.

Tony spillard said:
07 February 2012 @ 00:21

Saga hotels with four weeks for the price of three in the costa blanca are far too popular, guests crowd the hotels with horrid bugs, staff cannot cope and I am not surprised such infections occur. We were at their Denia hotel last Jan-feb and it was a dreadful experience

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