Legionella Bacteria Found At Jail

Bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease have been found in water in the healthcare centre of Magilligan Prison. The tests were made after a terminally ill prisoner tested positive for Legionella Bacterium.

The man was transferred to the Causeway hospital on 29 January but died last week. It is not known if his death is linked to the rare form of pneumonia. Six prisoners have been moved. It is understood that none have flu-like symptoms associated with the disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia or lung infection. The major source of infection is water distribution systems in large buildings.

In a statement, the Prison Service said the men were moved after consultation with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland and the Western Health and Social Services Board. “Discussions are ongoing to identify what further action may need to be taken,” the statement said.

There are 420 sentenced prisoners at the County Londonderry jail, which was first opened in 1972 on the site of an army camp. Initially it housed paramilitary prisoners, until they were moved to the Maze in 1977 when Magilligan became a ‘normal’ prison.

Magilligan has its own 8-bed health care centre but prisoners can be referred to outside hospitals for treatment by the medical staff. The jail is due to be replaced with a new £150m prison with up to 1,000 individual cells to house high risk offenders.