Samples taken from the establishment were tested after a foreigner complained of an infection

A luxury hotel escaped penal action by Chennai Corporation after King Institute of Preventive Medicine gave a clean chit after testing samples taken from the establishment

Chennai Corporation on May 8 collected swabs from the hotel after complaints by a foreign national of having picked up an infection. The man had contracted pneumonia after visiting Chennai. As public health authorities had doubts regarding the sanitary condition in the hotel where he had stayed, a team of officials raided the hotel. “The samples were found to be negative for Legionella bacteria,” said a senior official of the institute.

15 samples collected

“Investigation was done for suspected Legionella disease by a team of health experts. About 15 samples were collected in areas like kitchen tap, shower head, air-conditioner, swimming pool and overhead tank,” the official said.

The samples were tested according to Centre for Disease Control Guidelines using appropriate specialised selective media (buffered charcoal yeast egg extract medium with selective agents and antibiotics).

Such test results are usually ready in three weeks, the official added.

The State government is likely to convey the results to the affected person. Over nine star hotels in the luxury segment are located in Chennai district.

A large number of hotels in the city are in the premium, mid-market and value segment.

“Periodic checks are done regularly in such areas,” said the official.

Had the results proven the presence of a Legionella infection, public health authorities would have imposed a fine of Rs.100 on the hotel under the provisions of Section 101 of the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act. The registration certificate of the lodging house at the luxury hotel would also have been cancelled and a notice issued under section 279 of Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act.

The Revenue Department of Chennai Corporation in association with the Public Health authorities would have also cancelled the trade licence of the restaurant of the luxury hotel.

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