Starwood investigates possible Legionnaires outbreak

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is conducting an investigation at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi after three people who stayed at the hotel contracted Legionnaires disease

The hotel under construction.
The hotel under construction.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is investigating a possible outbreak of Legionnaires disease at one of its Dubai hotels after three people contracted the disease following a stay at the beachside property.

One former guest died after he stayed at the The Westin Mina Seyahi, while two others have reportedly been diagnosed with the potentially-fatal disease, a type of pneumonia spread via bacteria in water.

BBC radio cricket commentator and statistician Bill Frindall, 69, died on January 29, just days after returning to the UK following a trip to Dubai for a charity cricket match, during which time he stayed at The Westin.

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Two other guests who stayed at the hotel have also fallen ill with Legionnaires disease.

It has not yet been confirmed where or how the victims contracted the disease, but a spokesperson for Starwood assured that the hotel group was investigating the matter.

“Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Westin's parent company, in co-operation with Dubai Municipality and Dubai Health Authorities, is continuing to conduct a thorough investigation with independent assessors, including leading European and US-based experts, to investigate whether Legionella is present in the hotel,” the spokesperson explained.

“No evidence of Legionella has been found to date at the hotel based, on initial testing by an independent accredited laboratory and the hotel’s systematic and regular audits.

“The safety of our guests and associates is always of paramount priority, and although recent monitoring and testing has not revealed the presence of Legionella at the property, hotel management is continuing to monitor the situation and has begun contacting guests and associates to advise them of the circumstances,” she continued.

The spokesperson added that the hotel and the Starwood group wished to extend their “sincere condolences” to the family and friends of Bill Frindall.

The bacteria that causes Legionnaires can be found in natural water sources such as lakes and rivers, but also on occasion, in man-made water systems such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas and also in air-conditioning units.


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