Traces of the potentially deadly Legionnaires’ disease have been discovered at St Hugh’s during routine annual testing for the bacterium.Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that is carried through the air in fine droplets of water. It has an incubation period of two to ten days and has a fatality rate of between five and ten percent. The disease is particularly dangerous for the elderly.The outbreak at St Hugh’s occurred in the Rachel Tricket Building (RTB) which contains the JCR as well as student accommodation.Mary Kerr, St Hugh’s College Bursar, said that the College had followed expert advice in dealing with the outbreak.She said, “Following advice from the College’s specialist environmental contractor, the water system was immediately treated with chemicals to kill the bacteria.“As an added safeguard the College has installed replacement shower heads with integral legionella filters,” she added.Nikita Malik, JCR Vice-President, said that no students are believed to have caught the virus.
Malik said, “We’ve given lots of warnings about symptoms and how people should respond if they suspect they’re infected.”She said that changing the shower heads has caused disgruntlement among students in the college.She said, “We’ve had lots of complaints people have been irritated by college putting special filters on shower heads to keep out the bacteria.“The water pressure on the second and third floors is practically non-existent.” “College has offered alternative accommodation for people who want better facilities, but the bedrooms they’re offering aren’t en suite,” he added.But Kerr said that there was no animosity between students and the College. She said, “The College has remained in close contact with the JCR Committee and the individual students occupying the affected rooms.“They have fully understood the situation and we are extremely grateful for their co-operation.”