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Institute for Animal Health statement on allegations of Legionella contamination

9 August 2007

The Institute for Animal Health has been aware of allegations made today of Legionella contamination at our Laboratory at Pirbright.

On 18 July samples were collected by HSE for testing as part of their due diligence following a case of Legionella in a contractor who had briefly worked at this and other sites.

The results obtained this evening from the Health Protection Agency show levels of 20 colony forming units per litre of Legionella pneunophila sero group one. This is classed as insignificant under L8, the approved HSE code of practice for control of Legionella in water, and by the Institute for Animal Health's own HSE approved water safety management regime. 20 colony forming units per litre is such a low level that it is on the threshold of detection and could be considered background level.

This level is so low that the HSE require no further action, other than maintaining our current monitoring regime. However, we have taken positive action and have taken the relevant water system out of use and this is being disinfected as we speak.

The Institute for Animal Health does not know where this story originated today. It has been a regrettable distraction for our scientists currently working 24 hours a day on testing samples from the current Foot and Mouth outbreak to underpin the Government's contain, control and eradicate policy.

Dr John Anderson MBE
Head of Laboratory, IAH Pirbright

ENDS

Notes to editors

The Institute for Animal Health (IAH) is the largest research institute in the United Kingdom dedicated to the study of infectious diseases in farm animals. It has two sites: Compton Laboratory (Compton, near Newbury, Berkshire), and Pirbright Laboratory (Pirbright, near Guildford, Surrey).

IAH is one of seven research institutes sponsored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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