A council is facing prosecution after a customer at its leisure centre contracted Legionnaire's Disease.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation was launched in November 2016 after the incident at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles.

The customer received treatment in hospital after contracting the disease, which is a form of acute pneumonia affecting the lungs.

It can lead to shortness of breath, a high fever and muscle pains.

Legionnaire's is caused by Legionella bacteria, which is found naturally in fresh water and has no preventative vaccine.

Preventing people from contracting the disease depends on the proper maintenance of water systems.

The same bacteria was discovered in the leisure centre's showers after the customer fell ill.

Tendring Council has been charged over its systems for managing the risk of Legionella at all of its leisure centre sites.

Ian Davidson, the council's chief executive, reassured residents that systems had been changed as a result, working alongside specialist contractors.

“It would be inappropriate for me to comment further about this specific incident and the charge ahead of the court case,” he said.

“However, I would once again like to reiterate our apologies to the individual concerned.

“As soon as we became aware of the presence of Legionella bacteria at the new facility at Walton-on-the-Naze Lifestyles we moved to address the issue immediately, with the centre closed for three months while remedial works took place.

“Our investigation was quickly widened to include a review of our systems and practices right across the council and, working alongside the HSE, these are now extremely rigorous.

“We have been open and transparent throughout this process.”

A hearing was due to be held at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court yesterday *NOV 7*, but was adjourned until Thursday, December 6.