Legionella bacteria discovered in Parliament

Showers in Portcullis House were closed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after low levels of the bacteria were detected during routine maintenance.

09 June 2022

Some showers on the parliamentary estate have been closed following the discovery of the legionella bacteria, the House of Commons authorities have said.

A House spokesman the showers and a tea point in Portcullis House had been shut as a “precautionary measure” after “low levels” of the bacteria were identified during routine monitoring by maintenance staff.

The spokesman said some “isolated areas” of the building were affected and that a disinfection of the water system in those parts was being carried out.

All other water sources in the building remained safe to use as normal.

The legionella bacteria, which is naturally present in water systems, causes Legionnaires’ disease, which is fatal in 10% of cases.

It can cause serious illnesses in people over the age of 50, smokers and those with underlying health conditions.

The House spokesman said: “As part of our routine proactive monitoring, our maintenance team have identified low levels of legionella bacteria in some isolated areas in Portcullis House.

“As a precautionary measure in line with best practice, we have temporarily closed the showers and a tea point affected, while we undertake a disinfection of the water system in line with normal protocols.

“All other water sources in the building continue to be safe to use as normal.”

The main Palace of Westminster has long been beset by maintenance issues – from flooding to fires and vermin – and is need of extensive restoration.

However Portcullis House, which was built to provide additional office space for MPs and their staff, was only opened in 2001.

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