Mystery surrounds Burnley man Legionnaire’s Disease death

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Mystery remains over how a Burnley man contracted a fatal dose of legionella or legionnaires’ disease.

Mr Roy Ninnis (69) died in the Royal Blackburn Hospital from the disease, a serious lung infection caused by legionella bacteria.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Ninnis, of Huntroyde Close, had recently returned from his motor home at Southport when he fell ill.

Dr Ian Stanley, a critical care consultant at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, said that the initial diagnosis of Mr Ninnis’ condition was pneumonia.

Tests later came back positive for legionella and Mr Ninnis was placed on antibiotics but sadly died in the critical care unit on July 7th.

Environmental Health officers carried out an investigation at the campsite in Southport and took water samples from the kitchen and basin in the motor home, but no legionella was discovered.

Mr Ninnis’ partner Elaine Astley, who had been with him at the campsite did not fall ill.

Pathologist Dr Richard Prescott, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said that Mr Ninnis also suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which would have made him more susceptible to legionella.

He said: “The cause of legionella, a bacteria which causes atypical pneumonia. It is not very common, but can be fatal in some people.

“It has been associated with showers and when water droplets form. It is then inhaled through water. Legionnaires’ is a sporadic disease, but we do not know how Mr Ninnis contracted it. The bacteria is naturally occurring.”

East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor, who recorded a conclusion of natural causes, said: “Mr Ninnis’ death remains a mystery.

“However, due to his ongoing condition he would have been more susceptible than others to the infection.”