TWO patients are being treated in intensive care after becoming ill in a new Legionella outbreak which has been linked to gardening compost. NHS Lothian has said it is investigating four cases of Legionella longbeachae linked to the compost.
Two of the victims are being treated in intensive care. Another two have been discharged after treatment.
Symptoms of the infection can include headaches, diarrhoea or a dry cough followed by pneumonia.
The health board last night issued a statement saying it was trying to identify the source of the outbreak.
All four patients are said to be keen gardeners and aged between 64 and 82. They had all recently bought different products containing gardening compost before they became infected.
Public health experts believe the outbreak is linked to commercial gardening compost.
Dr Richard Othieno, consultant in public health and chair of the incident management team, said: “This type of Legionella is quite rare in that it has never been identified in man-made water systems, like cooling towers.
“We are working with experts to trace the source of the infection and samples of the compost have been sent for testing.
“We know that each of the four cases are keen gardeners and had purchased different products containing compost.”