A woman who contracted legionnaires' disease while staying at a Burton hotel after visiting the town for her granddaughter's birthday has been left struggling to breathe and with possible damage to her kidneys.
The hotel is currently closed after two guest contracted the disease after staying at the Three Queens Hotel.
Now the woman's daughter Katherine Lyle, of Hawkin's Lane, and her partner Gary Bent have told how the grandmother, who does not want to be named, came to Burton for her granddaughter Mina's seventh birthday.
Katherine says her mum and dad arrived at the Three Queens Hotel, in Bridge Street, on September 7, and were originally put on the third floor where her mum used the shower.
They were not happy at being on the third floor as they had requested a ground floor room and were moved downstairs by staff, she said. Katherine said her 56-year-old mum enjoyed the family celebration with her family and did and ate the same as everyone else while there. Her parents went home to Bridlington, in East Yorkshire, on September 12, and by Saturday, September 16, her mum had become ill.
By Monday, September 18, she was in hospital where she had to have a constant drip and oxygen as doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia and then double pneumonia. They then discovered she had legionnaires' disease. she had to stay in hospital for three weeks in her own private room while she was given antibiotics and all the medical attention she needed.
She is back at home but she is a long way from being better, said Katherine, as she still battles the double pneumonia, leaving her so short of breath that a few minutes talking on the phone leaves her needing to rest.
Ms Lyle said: "She is very stressed and very tired but does not want to make a scene. By the sounds of her she still needs to be on oxygen and we think she will need to go back in to hospital. The whole experience has stressed her out and she is battling double pneumonia and the side effects that go with it.
"I have not been able to visit her as I have had a cold and we could not risk her catching it."
The family is now waiting for a visit from a district nurse as there are concerns over her kidney function.
It is believed by the couple that it was that first shower on the third floor that may have led to her contraction legionnaire's disease. It was the only thing during the whole stay she did that no-one else did, said her daughter.
The hotel has been forced to close by Public Health England health professionals after two guests who had stayed there for three days contracted the disease.
Tests showed legionella pneumophila bacteria was present in water samples taken from the hotel's plumbing.
Mr Bent said: "I am a chef and I deal a lot with health and hygiene and Environmental Health and this really raises issues about its inadequacies. For a hotel to have dealt with this twice in the same year and not done anything about it, is not to right. Think about the potential customers staying in that hotel on a regular basis.
"They showed us a picture of the bacteria and it sent a shiver down my spine. She was the only one who showered in that room and it is the only thing we can think of that no-one else did."
The first case, a guest from Nottingham, was diagnosed in January this year before this woman in September.
Dr David Kirrage, consultant with PHE West Midlands health protection team, said: "Isolated cases of Legionella infection are reported to us on a regular basis and investigated as a matter of routine. Following the second case of confirmed Legionnaires' disease with a link to the hotel, we liaised with colleagues in the local Environmental Health team to carry out testing of water systems at the hotel.
"On the discovery of the presence of Legionella at the hotel, the management implemented public health advice in order to minimise exposure to guests and staff, and closed areas where the bacteria had been detected immediately.
"Following further discussions with Public Health England and the local authorities, the hotel management has been told the premises need to close while a full assessment of the water systems is undertaken and any remedial work necessary is completed. Members of the Environmental Health team will continue to take tests to assess when the various hotel buildings may reopen."
The hotel is contacting current guests to explain the situation, and guests who stayed at the hotel in the last two weeks to advise them to make contact if they have experienced any symptoms of legionnaires' disease.
Malcolm Novell, the hotel's general manager, said: "We are working closely with public health professionals and taking immediate remedial action.
"Once work on our water systems is complete and satisfactory test results have been received from health professionals, we will reopen fully to the public."
A spokesman for Public Health England said today, Monday, October 9: "At the moment we cannot give an exact date for when the hotel will reopen, because tests must be carried out and then satisfactory results received. The hotel is made up of a number of individual buildings, so each of the water systems must be assessed.
"Work is being carried out as quickly as possible, and the hotel is working closely with members of Public Health England and the local authority Environmental Health team.
"Legionnaires' disease cannot be passed from person to person. You cannot catch Legionnaires' by eating or drinking the bacteria. People become infected when they breathe in Legionella bacteria which have been released into the air in aerosolised form from a contaminated source. There is no source of airborne contamination outside the hotel, and as sampling has confirmed Legionella is confined to the internal water system within the hotel, there is no risk to the general public."
What is legionnaires' disease?
Legionnaires' disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. Early symptoms include a "flu-like" illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever which can then lead to pneumonia. As with any pneumonia, the patient can become very unwell.
Diarrhoea and/or confusion may occur, as well as chest and breathing symptoms. It can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics.
Legionella bacteria are widely distributed in the environment. They have been found in hot and cold water systems and in some forms of industrial and commercial water cooling systems. Infection can be spread through aerosols from such water sources.
The majority of cases are reported as single cases but outbreaks can occur. There are 350 to 400 cases a year reported in England and Wales, mainly in older adults.
Who is affected?
All ages can be affected but the disease mainly affects people over 50 years of age and generally men more than women. Smokers and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk.
Can you die from it?
Deaths occur in 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the general population and may be higher in some groups of patients.
Why is it called legionnaires' disease?
An outbreak of this disease occurred in Philadelphia in 1976 among legionnaires attending a state convention of the American Legion and led to naming the disease after this group. Subsequently, the bacterium causing the illness was identified and named legionella pneumophila.