Page last updated at 11:46 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 12:46 UK

Suspected Legionnaires' death at hospital in Essex

The hospital was criticised in 2009 for having high death rates

A 54-year-old man has died at an Essex hospital from suspected Legionnaires' disease.

The patient was taken into Basildon Hospital on 7 March and died four days later. He had been admitted on a separate occasion the previous month.

An investigation is under way to establish whether the man contracted the disease in the hospital or elsewhere.

The disease has killed two people at the hospital in the past eight years.

In a statement the hospital said: "Since the first case of Legionnaire's disease was identified at the hospital in 2002, we have spent in the region of two million pounds on remedial works to the hospital's plumbing infrastructure and have a strict regime of continual chemical dosing, thermal disinfections and comprehensive monitoring of the extensive water distribution system.

"We will continue to work closely with the Health Protection Agency including the Essex Health Protection Unit , NHS East of England and NHS South West Essex to identify where further preventative action can be taken."

In January this year two people contracted Legionnaires' disease at the hospital, but both responded to antibiotics.

Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal infection that is caused by the bacteria legionella.

The bacteria is commonly found in sources of water such as rivers and lakes but can sometimes find its way into artificial water supply systems.

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