Legionella bacteria discovered in water from three schools on the Costa del Sol

by Lorraine Williamson
Legionella bacteria

ALHAURÍN EL GRANDE – Three schools on the Costa del Sol had to shut off their water supply after they discovered legionella bacteria in their taps. Consequently, students will have to wear a mask in the toilets for the time being. 

Decontamination tasks will be performed for 15 days. These are the schools Maruja Mallo, Los Manantiales and Juan Pablo II (El Romeral) in Alhaurin El Grande. The presence of legionella bacteria was detected on Thursday during a routine check carried out by the regional health authorities. Such a check takes place at all public facilities. These checks have been carried out monthly for 20 years and have not previously resulted in a positive test result. 

Alhaurín’s health counsellor assures the newspaper SUR that this is a local result and that it has no effect on the general water network. 

Protocol activated 

According to the mayor, all schools and all parents’ associations (Ampas), as well as the parents and guardians of the children, have been informed of the health protocols. One of the recommendations is that students use an FFP2 mask when they go to the toilet and flush it. 

As a preventive measure, it has been decided to close off the water in the toilets. However, this bacteria cannot be transferred from person to person and also not orally (drink). It is not necessary to suspend lessons. 

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No problem in the general water network 

A disinfection company is currently trying to find the sources of legionella contamination. The mayor insisted: “There is no problem in the general water network because it concerns specific sources”. He bases this on the explanation of the specialised companies. 

No infections 

The city council regretted the inconvenience to students and teachers and urged “calm”, as the controls “have worked” and there are no infected people. 

What is Legionella? 

Legionella lives in surface waters, such as lakes, rivers, and ponds, and is part of the bacterial flora, although the bacteria can also live in seawater. It is not dangerous in any of these places, but it is if they colonise the water supply systems. In its mildest form, this bacteria can cause a type of flu, while the much more serious Legionnaires’ disease requires antibiotic treatment. 

Also read: Is tap water in Spain safe to drink?

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