A warm shower after a hard day’s work comes at considerable risk if you are the Opposition leader or Speaker of the House.
Sources confirmed that legionella bacteria has been found in the two men’s showers at the Parliamentary building.
Speakers Anġlu Farrugia told the Times of Malta that the find would not affect parliamentary operations. Dr Farrugia said the problem was limited to one particular pipe that fed both his and Dr Busuttil’s showers, and that the two showers are going to be quarantined.
Parliament reconvenes this evening after the Christmas recess.
Legionella bacteria was first discovered inside the Parliament building last month.
At the time, Dr Farrugia had said that an “emergency shock treatment” of the entire plumbing system was carried out to eradicate any legionella traces and prevent them from spreading.
Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, which can be fatal, include shortness of breath, coughing, fever, muscle aches and headaches.
Bacteria also discovered in wash basin at Grandmaster's Palace
Traces of the bacteria were also found inside a men's toilet at the Grandmaster's Palace some days ago.
The Palace will host 14 ministerial meetings inside Malta’s former House of Representatives, now completely revamped, as well as scores of other events during the six-month EU presidency.
A spokesman for Malta’s EU presidency unit confirmed the bacteria had been found during “routine” precautionary tests. The traces were discovered inside a wash basin in one of the men's toilets.
However, he said reports provided by the Health Department indicated there was nothing to be alarmed about. 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 bacteria, he said.
The Palace will host 14 ministerial meetings inside Malta’s former House of Representatives
Further tests will be carried out following this period to ensure that the bacteria have been eradicated.
Asked if the discovery will affect plans for the EU presidency meetings, the spokesman said it would not be creating any disruptions.
The President’s Palace has undergone a €5 million renovation project to prepare it for hosting key meetings.
The works on the hall included a new electrical and sound system, air conditioning, translation facilities and furniture. The furniture of the former Parliament chamber has been stored for possible future use.
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 in.
Symptoms range in severity from a mild influenza-like illness to a serious and sometimes fatal form of pneumonia. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
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