Via the South China Morning Post: First it was lead, now legionella bacteria found in Kowloon City estate’s water supply. Excerpt:
The water scare at a Kowloon City public housing estate deepened yesterday after officials said apart from the excessive lead discovered in tap water, legionella bacteria were also traced at several locations in one of the six blocks.
But a health official said it was premature to conclude that the two incidents were connected, and the Housing Department would be disinfecting all blocks in Kai Ching Estate to put residents' minds at ease.
The latest development emerged as the government announced it would set up a task force to investigate why the poisonous metal was found in tap water. Its source remains unknown.
A plumber at the centre of the tainted water scare, Lam Tak-sum, yesterday also said he could not be held fully responsible for what had happened, as he was not in charge of the materials pre-fabricated outside Hong Kong.
It was revealed at a government press conference yesterday that a man, 72, was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital in late May with respiratory problems. He was later diagnosed with what was thought to be legionnaires' disease. The bacteria were found in his kitchen and bathroom in Mun Ching House.
"We immediately arranged to have the pipes replaced, and normally the problem would have been solved," said Dr Regina Ching Cheuk-tuen from the Centre for Health Protection.
"But samples taken later from his flat still contain legionella. We also found the bacteria in another unit as well as another water supply point on the first floor."
Ching said residents in Mun Ching House should use boiled water for showering and brushing their teeth and avoid using shower heads that generate aerosols to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.
In severe cases, the disease can cause respiratory failure or even death.
Residents in the block criticised the government for failing to ensure their safety since they moved in two years ago. "We used to feel safe living here, but now it's becoming really chaotic," a woman said.
Meanwhile, the government is setting up a task force comprising officials from several departments to get to the bottom of the lead scare and put forward recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening again.