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Update on investigation into legionella pneumonia (legionnaires disease) cases

May 11, 2011 3:44 PM

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A further two cases of legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed as investigations into an increase in the number of cases continues.
 
As a result of this further increase in cases public health experts have now confirmed that they are treating this as an outbreak.

Last week, it was reported that four individuals were being treated for the disease and that there had also been one death. 

Sadly another two people have now died from legionnaires’ disease.  One was an 81-year-old male who was one of the five existing confirmed cases and the second was a 65-year-old male admitted to hospital at the weekend suffering from the disease. 

This takes the total number of individuals confirmed as having the disease to seven, three of whom have now died.
 
Five of these cases are from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board area and two are from Lanarkshire Health Board area.

The Public Health Protection Units from both NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and NHS Lanarkshire are working together in a joint investigation with Health Protection Scotland (HPS), the Health and Safety Executive, environmental health officers and other partner agencies.

Dr Syed Ahmed, NHSGGC lead consultant in public health, said:  “Despite our very thorough investigations to date we have been unable to find a common source for the infections.

“We expect a small number of cases within the community every year but this rise, so close together, is most unusual and we feel we must treat these cases as an outbreak.

“Together with NHS Lanarkshire, HPS, environmental health and other colleagues we are investigating each and every case to identify a common source.

“I would also like to stress that legionella cannot be spread from person to person.    It is a bacteria found in water and can be spread through aerosols produced from water, such as air conditioning and showers and it cannot be contracted by drinking contaminated water.

“The symptoms and signs of legionnaires’ disease include headache, fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea. I would like to advise anyone currently with these symptoms to contact NHS 24 tel:  08454 24 24 24 or their own GP.”


ENDS

For more information, contact the press office tel:  0141 201 4429 or email:  [email protected]

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