I’ve traveled with Saga Holidays several times with my parents and, let me first say, they’re an excellent holiday company. So, to see the news this week that 3 British pensioners have now died on a Saga holiday at the AR Diamanate Beach Hotel in Calpe is very very sad.
Interestingly, I was with Saga on holiday last year in Albir, Spain and we visited the Ifach Hotel in Calpe, a wonderful hotel Saga groups normally stay in. While there, we were told by one of the Saga representativesSaga would also be using the AR Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe, beginning in the 2011-2012 season. A decision that, with these Legionnaire’s Disease deaths, they must now be regretting.
The deaths at the AR Diamante Beach Hotel were of British pensioners between the ages of 73 and 78 years old. The first person to die was a 76 year old man who died in a Benidorm clinic on Tuesday. A second man was found dead in his room a day later. A third man died on Friday.
Saga. meanwhile, has moved all of their groups out of the Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe and into another hotel, and the Spanish authorities have closed the hotel, pending further investigation. They say it looks like Legionnaire’s contamination was probably through the shower heads and taps, but tests so far have not been able to find any sigh of bacterium.
Fourteen other people were affected — ten British tourists and four Spanish hotel workers.
Interestingly, the assistant spokesperson for Esquerra Unida in the Valencia parliament, Lluis Torró, is now asking how did British health authorities raise the alarm about this Legionnaire’s Disease break out several days before health officials in Valencia said anything at all? Not looking good for the Valencian Regional Health Authority, that’s for sure.
As for the AR Diamante Beach Hotel, its having its entire plumbing system cleaned, and is expected to re-open in a couple of weeks.
Spanish authorities though say the hotel had followed regular plumbing cleaning procedures. As Spanish hotels have very strict guidelines for cleanliness, some of the strictest in Europe, if this is indeed true, it’s hard to see what else the Diamante Beach could have done?
Legionnaires’ disease is named after an outbreak at an American Legion convention in 1976 where 34 people died. It’s caused by a bacterium found in standing water and is contracted by drinking contaminated water or breathing contaminated air around water outlets.
It’s usually the elderly who contract and die of Legionnaire’s disease, as their immune systems are weaker than younger people so cannot fight it off as easily.