NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday said there has been a confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease in Grand Bahama.
Sands said the disease – a severe form of pneumonia – was reported from the Pelican Bay Hotel, adding it was unclear whether the disease was contracted in The Bahamas.
He said the ministry is awaiting a final report on the matter.
“We have gotten the international health preliminary report,” Sands told reporters, during a press conference announcing the remediation of the Rand Memorial Hospital.
“Every single case of Legionnaires in the world, at least for countries that are a part of the World Health Organization, is reported and we are mandated to report it.
“Then we do a thorough investigation of the facility to determine whether or not they have been keeping up with the mandated Hi-Vac maintenance.”
Legionnaires’ disease is a severe, often lethal, form of pneumonia, caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila found in both potable and non-potable water systems.
Sands explained that if air conditioning systems are not maintained adequately, the Legionella organism tends to grow in the water in air conditioners.
“That report now generates an investigation, to determine whether or not the facilities are compliant,” he continued.
“Just a few months ago, we would have invited and had representatives from all the major resorts in the country come in to update them about the requirements for the maintenance of their air conditioning systems, their saunas and other facilities that typically are associated with legionella. We have an active surveillance program.
“So let’s await the final report to determine whether or not this was contracted in The Bahamas, whether or not it was contracted at Pelican Bay, whether or not Pelican Bay or any other facility has been compliant with the required maintenance.”
Signs and symptoms of the disease include coughing, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fevers, and headaches.