THE hotel at the centre of a Legionnaires' disease investigation has closed for the time being.

And the Echo understands a second holidaymaker has fallen ill.

While the presence of the potentially deadly legionella bacteria has not been confirmed, the hotel - which remains unnamed - closed its doors voluntarily while environmental health officers investigate.

It comes after 74-year-old Peter Apps from Kent became critically ill days after returning from a week's visit to the town - during which he stayed in an en-suite room at a Bournemouth hotel. Samples taken from the premises are still being tested.

And now a second man - a friend of Peter's who was staying in another room at the same hotel - has also been rushed to hospital with similar symptoms, the Echo understands.

Both he and Peter are now both being treated at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, said Peter's brother Mike Apps.

As reported in the Daily Echo Peter has been in hospital since October 9. He began to experience flu-like symptoms after returning home to Sittingbourne in Kent at the beginning of October.

Within 48 hours, he had collapsed, and was rushed to hospital where his condition deteriorated.

He was put into a medically-induced coma as doctors battled to stabilise him.

At one point, his family were called into the hospital to say their goodbyes.

Peter - a retired lorry driver - suffered a collapsed lung and three infections, and was put on kidney dialysis when his organs began to shut down.

Although it was hoped that he was in the early stages of recovery, but suffered a relapse at the weekend. Mike said Peter began struggling to breathe on Friday night and has been put under sedation.

"He'd been doing a lot better, so they brought him out of the intensive care unit. He was talking to us and it looked like he was doing a lot better. But a few hours later I got a phone call to say he had been struggling to breathe. It's been horrendous."

A spokesman for Bournemouth Borough Council said: "We are waiting on the results of the samples, in the meantime the hotel has decided to voluntarily close whilst there is an investigation."

A spokesman for Public Health England said: "There is one confirmed case potentially linked to a Bournemouth hotel. We have not been informed of any other cases."

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria which can grow in water systems maintained at certain temperature. It is contracted by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air containing the bacteria.