Bacteria that can cause legionnaires’ disease has been found in two showers in the Parliament building, Speaker of the House Anġlu Farrugia has confirmed.
Speaking to the Times of Malta, Dr Farrugia confirmed that the bacteria had been found in his office shower, as well as in that of Opposition leader Simon Busuttil.
The symptoms of legionnaires’ disease, which can be fatal, include shortness of breath, coughing, fever, muscle aches and headaches.
Dr Farrugia said the two showers had been quarantined and the find was not expected to affect the rest of the Parliament building.
Dr Farrugia said that the problem was limited to one particular pipe that fed both his and Dr Busuttil’s showers.
The problem is limited to one particular pipe that feeds both the Speaker’s and Dr Busuttil’s showers
Legionella bacteria were first discovered inside the Parliament building last month. At the time, Dr Farrugia said that an “emergency shock treatment” of the entire plumbing system had been carried out to eradicate any legionella traces and prevent them from spreading.
There have been no reports of anyone contracting the disease from Parliament.
Traces of legionnaires’ bacteria were also found inside a sink in a men's bathroom at the Grandmaster’s Palace several days ago.
The palace will host numerous ministerial meetings as part of Malta’s six-month EU presidency.
A spokesman for Malta’s EU presidency said the bacteria had been found during “routine” precautionary tests. The traces were discovered inside a wash basin in one of the men’s toilets.
Tests carried out by the Health Department indicated there was nothing to be alarmed about, the spokesman said, and the bacteria found could be treated within three to four days.
The bathroom has been sealed off and a microbiologist has been commissioned to treat the legionella, he said.
Further tests will be carried out following this period to ensure that the bacteria have been eradicated.
The find is not expected to disrupt any of the EU Presidency meetings, the spokesman added.
The legionella bacterium is found naturally in fresh water. It can contaminate hot-water tanks and heaters and buildings’ plumbing systems.
It is transmitted when the contaminated water is spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe.