Only four months since previous outbreak claimed the lives of three British tourists.


By Benny Davis

FOR the second time this year, the Legionnaires disease has hit the Calpe’s luxury Diamante Hotel.

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Four months after receiving an all-clear from the local health authority, the hotel has again been forced to close its doors. Last January, an outbreak caused the deaths of three elderly British tourists, affected 15 other guests and caused a political storm when it was revealed the British health service had warned potential visitors about the outbreak before their Spanish equivalent had issued any form of statement to travellers in Spain. Even Calpe council attempted to underplay the situation when Calpe Mayor Cesar Sanchez in conjunction with Councillor for Health Luis Rodado announced that, “The outbreak has been located and guaranteed not to happen again.”  The hotel was officially closed down by the Valencian Government on February 4 this year, but reopened one week later when all members in a show of solidarity spent a night as guests in the hotel. Leading British tour operators such as Saga, did not agree with the council and promptly removed the hotel from its brochure.

This second outbreak of Legionnaires which has been identified as starting the third week in June, has affected three Belgium visitors, who have been repatriated to Belgium and five Spanish citizens who are now hospitalised in Madrid and Valencia.  The Councillor for Public Health in the Valencian Parliament, Manuel Escolano, said the outbreak had come as “a great surprise to his department as the hotel had been thoroughly disinfected and had over 1,000 tests taken on the water system since being cleared in February.” To date, the authorities say they have not traced any Legionela in the hot or cold running water system and Manuel Escolano added that. “All recognised European protocol has been put into play, and they were in constant touch with the European Alert Centre for the disease.”

The Hotel will be closed from July 3 until the source has been discovered. At present Diamante Hotel has around 500 guests, all of which will be offered alternative accommodation in the town. As a measure of precaution, European Health Authorities will be contacting everyone who has stayed in the hotel during the time of the outbreak and stress that if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, they immediately contact their local doctor.


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