Legionella tests temporarily close Newtownabbey school

A school in the County Antrim town of Newtownabbey, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, has been temporarily closed down after the bacterium which causes Legionella was discovered in a disused shower facility.

Hill Croft School, which caters for children with special needs between 3 and 19 years of age, was closed at the start of February after a strain of the bacterium was discovered during a planned water testing programme. The bacterium can cause Legionnaires’ disease if it comes into contact with a person.

Using guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the body which handles all safety-related issues including health and safety training, the school has decided to close its doors as a precautionary measure whilst further tests are carried out.

A spokesperson for the North Eastern Education and Library Board, which runs the school in question, said:

“We would like to reassure anyone who may be concerned that the area where the bacterium was found has not been in use by the pupils or staff at the school,”
“The parents of pupils attending Hill Croft Special School have been notified by the Principal and we will continue to work closely with the school, the Public Health Agency and the Health & Safety Executive to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”