Sixth Legionnaires' case found

18 Jul 2013

Health officials investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in the Renfrew area of Scotland have found a sixth case.

According to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) the latest person to show signs of the disease is responding well to treatment in their own home and the other five have all left hospital after treatment.

Investigations into the source of the problem are continuing, with both the health board and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) involved.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's consultant in public health, Dr Gillian Penrice, admitted that it was possible that more cases could come to light because the disease incubates for two weeks.

She said the latest case is a mild one and the person involved is doing well. GPs and hospital teams have been fully briefed on the outbreak and that they should be wary of symptoms like headaches, fevers, dry coughs, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea, Dr Penrice added.

A waterborne disease, Legionnaires' is the result of legionella bacteria infecting a person's lungs and is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.

While most commonly found in rivers and lakes, legionella bacteria can rapidly multiply if they enter artificial water supply systems, such as air conditioning, making the proper maintenance and cleaning of these systems absolutely crucial.

Larger buildings, like hospitals and office blocks, can be more vulnerable to a legionella outbreak because they often house larger water supply systems in which the bacteria can spread quickly.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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