Shopper killed by bug from hot tub

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The Independent Online

A man who inhaled spray from an outdoor hot tub during a shopping trip to a garden centre died within days from Legionnaires' disease, an inquest heard yesterday.

Roger Russell, 61, was invited by a salesman to dip his hand into the spa as it was switched to full power and jets blasted him with a mist containing the lethal bug.

Mr Russell, a father of four, fell ill two days later but it was not until he was taken to hospital after 17 days that doctors diagnosed the condition. He died from multiple organ failure as a result of the disease, caused by the legionella bacterium.

Environmental health officers were alerted and after talking to his wife, Wendy, 59, they investigated the £5,000 spa he was shown at Merlin Timber Products at Longacres Nursery in Bagshot, Surrey. Samples they took showed that the bacteria was still in the water more than three weeks after Mr Russell, a psychiatric nurse, had visited.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, the Surrey coroner, Michael Burgess, said legislation on spa baths "falls short of what one might expect", and said he would write to the Department of Trade.