A number of asylum seekers who were moved off the barge at Portland Port after Legionella bacteria was found in the water have fallen ill.

They say they are experiencing flu-like symptoms and a fever and have been moved to temporary accommodation outside Dorset by the Home Office.

A number of the former barge residents have described experiencing "flu-like symptoms, headaches, coughs and fever".

It is understood around four of the asylum seekers may have fallen ill with these symptoms.

It is unclear what healthcare arrangements are in place for the asylum seekers after leaving the Bibby Stockholm, which had an onboard healthcare room.

Legionella bacteria in water can lead to Legionnaires' Disease if tiny droplets of water containing the bacteria are inhaled.

The disease is not contagious and cannot usually be caught by drinking water with the bacteria.

According to the NHS, Legionnaires' disease is usually caught in places "like hotels or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply".

It can be caught from air conditioning systems, humidifiers or taps and showers which are not used often.

The symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include a cough, shortness of breath, chest pains, high temperature and flu-like symptoms.

A spokesperson for barge operators CTM said on Friday that "no individuals had presented symptoms of Legionnaires".

They said: "We are aware of the issue onboard the Bibby Stockholm relating to the water system and are moving service users off the vessel as a precautionary measure.

"The health and well-being of any individual staying in our contracted accommodation is of the utmost importance to us.

“We are liaising with our partners, with works starting this weekend, to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: "All asylum seekers accommodated on the Bibby Stockholm have now been disembarked as a precaution and moved to alternative accommodation. 

 “The Home Office and our contractors are following all protocol and advice from Dorset Council’s Environmental Health team, UK Health Security Agency and Dorset NHS who we are working closely with.

"Those accommodated onboard the vessel will receive a health assessment with medical staff and will continue to be offered support and medical advice going forward.

"All health precautions are being followed by Home Office and its contractors.

"We will remain in close contact with our partners and will adhere to all advice provided by relevant authorities over the coming days."