Public Health England and NHS warn of hazard as newborn needs intensive care after birth in pool infected with bacteria

Public Health England and NHS England issued the warning for pools which have built-in heaters and recirculation pumps and can be filled with water two weeks in advance of the birth.

The alert comes after a case of legionnaires’ lung disease was identified in a baby born in a home birth in one of the pools. Water samples confirmed the presence of legionella bacteria.
The child is now in intensive care in hospital. It has been the first reported case of legionnaires’ disease linked to a birthing pool in England, PHE said.

Experts are working to establish whether or not the bacteria from the tested home pool is the same strain as that which infected the baby.

Prof Nick Phin, head of legionnaires’ disease at PHE, said: “This is an extremely unusual situation, which we are taking very seriously.

“We advise that heated birthing pools, filled in advance of labour and where the temperature is then maintained by use of a heater and pump, are not used in the home setting while we investigate further and until definitive advice on disinfection and safety is available.”
NHS England issued a patient safety alert to notify the healthcare system, and midwives in particular, of the possible risk associated with the use of the heated birthing pools at home.

The alert recommends that heated birthing pools are not used for labour or birth. A full risk assessment is being carried out in the meantime.

Excerpt from The Guardian.