Migrants have been removed from the Bibby Stockholm barge after Legionella was found (James Manning / PA)

Migrants have been removed from the Bibby Stockholm barge after Legionella was found (James Manning / PA)

Asylum seekers have been moved off the controversial Bibby Stockholm barge after Legionella was found in the water.

There were 15 people aboard the barge, but around 20 asylum seekers had their transfers cancelled by their lawyers.

Sky News reports that nobody who had been staying on the barge has shown signs of being unwell.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is reportedly chairing meetings about the situation, according to Sky News.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.

The bacteria can be found in freshwater, such as lakes and rivers, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Legionella becomes a concern when it enters water systems like showers and sinks.

The bacteria grows in water and can be spread in small droplets, though it’s rarely spread from person to person.

What is Legionnaires’ disease?

Legionnaires’ disease is a rare but serious lung infection that people can develop after inhaling droplets of water containing the bacteria Legionella. It is considered to be a severe form of pneumonia.

According to the NHS, the disease is usually caught at places like hotels or hospitals, but is rarely caught at home.

Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include a cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, muscle pain, chills, fatigue, a high temperature, and flu-like symptoms.

The NHS advises that people should contact NHS 111 or their GP if they have been experiencing symptoms like a cough that’s lasted three weeks or more, coughing up blood, chest pain that comes and goes, or happens when breathing or coughing, or feeling short of breath.

Legionnaires’ disease is usually treated in a hospital, where patients may receive antibiotics directly into their veins, oxygen through face masks, or tubes in their nose, and a machine to help them breathe.

Most people fully recover from Legionnaires’ disease.

The Government considers Legionnaires’ to be a “notifiable disease” in England and Wales, which means that health professionals have to inform local health-protection teams of suspected cases.

This allows them to track cases and prevent outbreaks.

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