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Aberdeenshire Council HQ reopens partially following legionella bacteria scare

Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters

Aberdeenshire Council has partially reopened its HQ in Aberdeen following a legionella bacteria scare.

The local authority agreed to reopen Woodhill House for “a small number of staff” on Tuesday.

The building had been shut since last Thursday after it was suspected that there was a possibility the deadly bacteria was in the water systems there.

An area of concern has been isolated, with the rest of Woodhill House tested and given the all-clear.

Members Building, Woodhill House (Aberdeenshire Council HQ)

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “Following ongoing testing and the flushing/disinfection of the water system at Woodhill House, the building will partially reopen today (Tue, May 25) for a small number of staff.

“The area of concern has been isolated to a single water point in the building in an area not currently in use.

“The result from testing throughout the building at the weekend was clear, with some further testing to continue in the affected area for the time-being.”

Only a small number of Aberdeenshire Council employees are currently working from Woodhill House, which is the council’s main administrative base.

What is legionella?

Blood sample positive with legionella

Legionella can be found in water, and if inhaled in droplets, the bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal pneumonia-type lung infection.

The bug can also cause a more mild flu-like illness called Pontiac fever.

Health Protection Scotland claims Legionnaires’ disease is uncommon in this country, with most contracting the illness while abroad.

The health body’s website states there are more than 60 types of legionella, but nine in 10 cases of Legionnaires is caused by the Legionella pneumophila strand.

Legionella bacteria are found in all aquatic environments and “can become a risk to public health” when they colonise in man-made water systems such as showers, cooling towers, air conditioning systems, humidifiers, and spa pools, the experts said.

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