Sunderland ski slope closed after Legionnaires bug is found at complex

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A POPULAR sports complex has been closed after the bug which causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in its water system.

Silksworth ski centre has been temporarily shut by Sunderland Council after higher than normal levels of bacteria were discovered.

They included Legionella, which can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

People catch the Legionella bacteria by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the bacteria.

It can affect anybody, but the elderly and those suffering from illness are most susceptible.

No one has contracted the disease from the Silksworth centre, and steps are being taken to rectify the situation.

Julie Gray, head of community services at Sunderland City Council, said: “Water systems in all public buildings are regularly monitored, in line with the approved code of practice for water hygiene management adopted by all local authorities.

“This includes routinely monitoring the temperature of water systems, taking samples for testing, and cleansing and disinfecting water systems.

“Legionella bacteria are widely found in natural water sources, ponds, lakes etc, and it is not unusual to find low levels in the water systems of buildings, particularly older buildings.”

She added: “Routine tests recently carried out at Silksworth Ski Complex showed an increase above accepted levels of bacteria, including Legionella.

“The complex has been temporarily closed as a precautionary measure, and will reopen as soon as remedial work to restore the water supply to its normal levels is complete.”

Users of the centre were yesterday left unaware of the issue behind the closure, as a notice taped to a door only mentioned “unforeseen circumstances.”

The doors are closed and signs in the windows say it is “shut until further notice”.

Mum Amy Pink, of Humbledon, whose children Jacee, eight, and Vinnie Dolan, five, often use the facilities, was shocked to hear the news.

She said: “That’s awful. I take the kids there quite a lot. I mean, how has this happened?

“I think it will put a lot of people off going there. I’ll think twice in the future about taking my kids there after this to be honest.

“I think the least they could have done is told people because there was just a sign there saying it was shut and no reason why.”

Other public buildings in Sunderland have previously found to have Legionella bacteria levels were above the accepted level.

Last December, the gym and pool at Monkwearmouth Comprehensive School were closed after routine tests.

Three months beforehand, a woman needed treatment at Sunderland Royal Hospital after contracting Legionnaires’ while in the East Willows ward, at Cherry Knowle Hospital, Ryhope.