No-one would expect to contract potentially fatal diseases in the whirlpool spas of luxurious hotels, cruise ships, leisure centres, health & beauty spas and luxury holiday homes. Unless these hot tubs, as they are also often called (along with other names like whirlpools, spa pools and hot spas), are properly maintained, there may, however, be dangers lurking beneath those sparkling waters.
The trouble with spa pools
Pleasant and relaxing, spa pools can harbour a variety of infectious agents. These agents may be introduced into the water (which is not replaced after use, but disinfected and recycled) directly from the water’s source; by bathers or through dirt falling or being carried in. Once in the pool’s water, the warm temperatures of which provide perfect conditions for them, the agents grow and soon proliferate. If growing concentrations of such agents are not detected and eliminated by proper management, the risk of infections rises dramatically.
Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria responsible for the Legionellosis family’s most virulent strain, Legionnaires’ Disease, is potentially fatal. The bacterium is also believed to cause other flu and pneumonia-like diseases, including Lochgoilhead and Pontiac fever. Infections are contracted by inhaling water mist containing the bacteria. This makes it dangerous not only to bathers, but also for anyone within the vicinity of the contaminated hot spa.
Lethal amoeba in whirlpools
The Naegleria fowleri amoeba predominantly found in the warm waters of natural spas is also potentially lethal, as it is a cause of meningitis. Acanthamoeba can cause a severe eye infection, keratitis, and a brain infection, encephalitis.
Additional risks of infections in hot tubs include folliculitis, a hair follicle infection caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium, and respiratory diseases associated with Mycobacterium avium and other non-tuberculous mycobacteria. Several other species of bacteria have been suggested as potential risk factors, but no scientific evidence to prove definite associations has as yet been produced.
Then, of course, there is the risk of injury by slipping on wet hot tub surroundings. Less likely to be fatal, but nonetheless unpleasant, slip injuries can vary significantly in severity.
If you were infected in a whirlpool spa, you may qualify for personal injury compensation. The law says if someone else is responsible for your misfortune, you are entitled to get compensation. Accident Advice Helpline can make this happen. Call them today to find out how on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.