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Legionnaires Disease Update

July 02, 2013 2:31 PM

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At an Outbreak Control Team meeting this morning it was reported that there have been no further cases of Legionnaire’s Disease in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

The number of confirmed cases remains at five and the three cases currently in hospital are continuing to respond well to treatment.

Investigations into a possible source are ongoing in partnership with the Health and Safety Executive, Health Protection Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and other local authorities.

As a precautionary measure to prevent any possible further cases all 14 active water cooling towers within a six km radius of the homes of the two Renfrew cases were treated with chemicals that kill the Legionella bacteria by yesterday afternoon.
A number of the towers have also been sampled for the bacteria in line with national guidance however due to the complex laboratory processes used to confirm or identify Legionella the results of these samples will not been known for some time.

Yesterday it was confirmed that all five cases have had some direct or indirect connection to the Renfrew area and that investigations were now focusing on this area for any possible of sources of the disease.

Dr Gillian Penrice, NHSGGC Consultant in Public Health, said: “I am pleased that there have been no further reported cases however there is still the possibility that some cases may be identified given the two week incubation period of the disease.

“We have notified all community GPs and our frontline hospital teams to keep this outbreak uppermost in their minds when dealing with patients displaying symptoms of headache, fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea.”

“I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our Health and Safety Executive, Health Protection Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and other local authority partners for their continued assistance in investigating any possible sources of the disease.”

It is important to remember that Legionella cannot be spread from person to person.

Legionella cannot be contracted by drinking contaminated water and residents in the Renfrew area should continue to drink water and prepare food in the normal way.

Legionella bacteria is spread through aerosols produced from water, such as water cooling towers, air conditioning and showers.

The symptoms and signs of Legionnaire’s Disease include headache, fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea. Anyone currently displaying these symptoms should contact NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 or their own GP.

ENDS

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

Why are water cooling towers investigated during outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease?

Cooling towers are heat removal devices used to transfer ‘process waste heat’ to the atmosphere.

Cooling towers are commonly used for cooling the circulating water used in oil refineries, petrochemical and other chemical and industrial plants.

Cooling towers, whilst not the only source, are a common of source of Legionella outbreaks.

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