Grand Tropicana declared clear of Legionnaires’ disease

PHUKET: Breaking the silence regarding the reported outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the hotel in January, Phuket Grand Tropicana General Manager Apichart Asa announced that the hotel has been declared free from the bacteria and that all water fixtures in the hotel have been cleaned from top to bottom.

Dr Wiwat Sritamanod, Civil Service Level C-9 of the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO), confirmed that the hotel had followed all necessary steps and that tests conducted on the hotel by the Bureau of Epidemiology (BE) show that it is free of Legionnaires’ bacteria.

To ensure there will be no further outbreaks, the hotel inspected and cleaned its water quality, the water temperature, the amount of chlorine in the water and the cooling systems used for air conditioning.

A second hotel, which has not been named, is still undergoing tests, Dr Wiwat said, but has implemented “quite strong measures” to kill bacteria in the hotel.

The PPHO held a meeting yesterday for health officers, business representatives, TAT Southern Region 4 officers, local organizations and businesses leaders to discuss the Legionnaires’ outbreak.

K. Apichart said that a Swedish expert on the bacteria visited the hotel and inspected the chlorine levels and water temperature.

“At first when she came to our hotel she found that our hot water temperatures sometimes dropped down quite low, when it should be up to 50 degrees Celsius. So she helped to fix it and keep the temperature high,” he said.

“Now in the hotel we also have an automatic pump to control the chlorine levels in the water. After she checked all the levels and made sure we were protected from Legionnaires’, she sent a report back to Sweden, and the tour company there [MyTravel Northern Europe] is sending tourists to us again.”

However, the Suntours tour operator from Finland is not yet sending any more tourists to the hotel, he said, until the Health Department of Thailand fully inspects the hotel and issues a report.

K. Apichart reported an occupancy rate of 80%, and said that the hotel’s cleaning measures have become more stringent.

In an outbreak of Legionnaires’, which is transmitted through a bacteria that lives in water, everything that comes in contact with the infected water must be cleaned, and K. Apichart reported that they followed the steps, including cleaning the shower heads of hot water and chlorine before rinsing them clean.

The PPHO and BE checked the water at the hotel four or five times until they were confident the bacteria was no longer present, Apichart said.

“The last report, from the Department of Health on January 27, shows that our hotel has followed the measures to manage and protect against future Legionnaires’ infections,” he said.

Phuket News

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