Four cases of Legionnaires’ disease confirmed in Edinburgh
AT least four people have contracted Legionnaires’ disease following an outbreak in Edinburgh.
NHS Lothian said four men, aged 39, 48, 60 and 63, were being treated in hospital after being confirmed as having the disease.
• Four men between the ages of 39 and 62 have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease
• Four additional people suspected of having disease
• Bacteria is normally contracted via sources of water such as rivers and lakes, but can also be found in man-made water sources such as air conditioning systems
Three are in intensive care, while another is being cared for in a high dependency unit.
Four other people, two women, both aged 49, and two men, aged 88 and 63, are also suspected of having the illness.
All of the cases have come from the south west area of Edinburgh since 7 May.
The source of the outbreak is being investigated by officials from the City of Edinburgh Council’s environmental health department and the Health and Safety Executive.
Investigators are concentrating on the south west Edinburgh area.
NHS Lothian said steps are being taken to treat cooling towers in the area as a precaution until the source is located.
Dona Milne, acting director of public health and health policy for NHS Lothian, said: “We have four confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, which all seem to come from the same point source in the south west of Edinburgh.
“Anybody who develops symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease should contact NHS 24 immediately or go to their GP.
“The safety of the public is our number one priority and we would urge people to look out for the symptoms of this disease.”
The health board said legionella bacteria are commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes.
The bacteria can end up in artificial water supply systems, including air conditioning systems, water services and cooling towers.
Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.
Symptoms include mild headaches, muscle pain, fever, a persistent cough and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
About half of those with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience changes to their mental state, such as confusion. The condition cannot be spread directly from person to person.
NHS Lothian said all GP surgeries in the area are open today. However, some will be closed tomorrow for the jubilee bank holiday.
Last week, gardeners were warned the killer bug could be lurking in their compost bags.
One man has died and five others have become ill in the past five years after contracting a rare strain of the Legionella bacteria, which appears to come from compost.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
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