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HomeNewsLegionella bacteria found at Harrow primary school

Legionella bacteria found at Harrow primary school

A dangerous bacteria that can cause a lung infection was uncovered in a Harrow primary school. Legionella was found in the water supply following a routine inspection by contractors.

So far, no pupils or teachers have reported being unwell after the discovery, but some parents have raised concerns about children’s safety at the school. The school remains open while the affected water supply is turned off. Further tests are being conducted.

The bacteria was detected at Glebe Primary School in Kenton after routine maintenance was carried out by contractors last month. Harrow Council, which runs the school, said the local authority was notified of the situation by the school straight away and claimed the school took ‘immediate action’.

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Breathing in water droplets contaminated with Legionella can lead to people developing Legionnaires Disease, a potentially dangerous lung infection.

Parents were informed of the situation through SchoolPing – a live communication app for schools – but some fear their children may be at risk of becoming unwell. One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that they are ‘really concerned’ about their children’s safety.

They said: “[…] I can’t do anything about it and I just want to cry. Children are at risk and if it’s all over the school it should be closed. The school hasn’t provided an update since the initial notice so of course I am really concerned. It’s very worrying.”

Legionella bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments but it can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made building water systems, such as showerheads and sink faucets, hot water tanks, and complex plumbing systems.

When the bacteria grows and multiplies in a building water system, water containing Legionella can spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. If someone develops Legionnaires Disease it requires treatment with antibiotics but they often also need to be cared for in hospital.

Harrow Council must ensure that schools are safe, including routine checks for Legionella. If they were not being carried out by the school, it would force the local authority to intervene. However, in this case, the inspection was arranged by the school itself.

A spokesperson for Harrow Council said: “We are legally required to carry out regular maintenance in our schools and public buildings to identify potential issues and keep people safe. During routine maintenance at Glebe Primary school in February, Legionella was detected.”

They added: “Immediate action was taken – the affected water supply turned off and the water treated. Further tests are being carried out to ensure there are no further issues. The school remains open, parents were informed, and no known cases of legionnaires in the school have been reported.”

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