A luxury hotel in Dubai is being wracked by fears of the Legionnaires' disease. Already a noted cricket broadcaster from the UK has died. Two others have reported sick. Cricket statistician and commentator Bill Frindall died on Thursday after leaving Dubai.
Sixty-nine-year-old Frindall was a guest of the hotel in mid-January, returning to the UK on 20 January from a tour to Dubai with his charity cricket team, the Lord's Taverners.
The team said no other members were showing symptoms of Legionnaires' Disease.
Tests by European and American experts on the Westin Dubai have so far not found the bacterium, Legionella, that causes the disease, said hotel spokeswoman Amalie Craig.
The owner of the Westin hotel chain, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said it was working with the Dubai authorities to find out how Frindall and and the other two, unidentified, guests became infected.
The disease has never been detected at the hotel, according to its own regular checks, Craig said.
The Westin Dubai's staff has begun contacting guests to inform them of the three cases, she added.
Legionnaires Disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and it is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria that can be found naturally in environmental water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, usually in low numbers. As they are commonly found in environmental sources they may also be found in purpose built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpool spas.
If conditions are favourable the bacterium may grow creating conditions in which the risk from legionnaires' disease is increased.
The illness is called Legionnaires' disease because it was first reported at an American Legion convention in 1976 in Philadelphia, where it made 182 people ill.
Since the disease was first identified, outbreaks have been linked to hotels, cruise ships and other types of holiday accommodation.
The Legionella bacterium only poses a risk if it gets into water distribution systems such as air conditioners or plumbing, says the European Working Group for Legionella Infections (EWGLI) EWGLI.
About 5-15% of cases prove fatal, with elderly people most at risk, BBC reports.