Scot dies from Legionnaire's disease after holiday coach trip to Italy
AN ELDERLY Scottish holidaymaker has died after contracting Legionnaire's disease while on a coach trip to Italy.
The man, who has not been named, died in hospital on return from a tour that travelled through France and Switzerland on its return from Italy.
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said a second man had picked up the condition and a further two possible cases were being investigated.
Legionnaire's disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, but it can be treated with antibiotics. Infection experts believe a contaminated shower or whirlpool might be to blame for this outbreak.
HPS yesterday said that two of the infected travellers were receiving treatment and one was recovering at home. None was giving cause for concern.
A team of experts met on Monday to discuss the outbreak. The name and whereabouts of the deceased have not been released at what is understood to be the request of the family.
The travellers returned to various parts of Scotland at the end of August. The first official notification came last Thursday when two cases where reported. One, the unnamed elderly man, later died.
The second pair came forward within days of the first cases exhibiting signs of Legionnaire's. All 41 of the coach passengers and the driver are being kept under watch by the seven health boards in the areas where they live.
The holidaymakers all visited Italy as part of a coach tour organised by Caledonian Travel, a subsidiary of WA Shearings. The 13-day tour involved the use of seven hotels and two ferries.
Due to the variety of accommodation and venues visited, determining the source of the infection will be difficult for investigators. A spokesperson for WA Shearings said: "The welfare of our customers during their holiday is a top priority for Caledonian Travel and we are co-operating fully with Health Protection Scotland. Our thoughts are with the families who have been affected by this tragic event."
Dr Jim McMenamin, the consultant epidemiologist who is investigating the outbreak, said: "The travellers have been back in Scotland for ten days and if they were going to develop symptoms, it is very likely they would have done so by now as ten days is the upper limit of the incubation period for this infection.
"We most frequently see this infection in returning travellers to the UK who have inhaled an aerosol such as that from an infected shower or Jacuzzi contaminated with this bacteria."
29 CASES THIS YEAR
SO FAR this year, there have been 29 cases of Legionnaires' in Scotland, which has on average between 20 and 40 incidents a year.
The most recent outbreak came in July, when a Ross-shire hotel was closed after two separate incidents involving two people in their 60s were reported.
It usually affects the middle-aged or elderly and it more commonly affects smokers or those with chest problems.
About three-quarters of all British cases occur as isolated instances rather than as epidemics. In most of these cases the source of the germs is not found.
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