Legionnaires' disease cases increase in Edinburgh outbreak
Published: 5th Jun 2012 13:56:31
The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh has risen to seven, NHS Lothian has said.
Six of the seven men affected are in a critical condition in intensive care units, while one has been discharged from hospital.
The number of other suspected cases in the outbreak has risen to 13, including seven people also in intensive care in a critical condition.
The source of the infection is still being investigated.
Industrial water cooling towers in the south west of Edinburgh, where all of the cases have come from, have been identified as a potential source.
Sixteen cooling towers in the area have been treated by environmental health staff in an attempt to halt the outbreak.
Dr Duncan McCormick, a consultant in public health medicine, said medical staff were identifying possible cases in an attempt to discover the full extent of the outbreak.
"I would like to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that Legionnaires' disease cannot be contracted by drinking water," he said.
"Older people, particularly men, heavy smokers and those with other health conditions, are at greater risk of contracting the disease.
"I would urge anyone who develops symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to contact NHS 24 or their GP."
NHS Lothian said all the confirmed cases were linked to the Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton areas of the city.
The six men in intensive care are aged between 39 and 65.
The first case was identified on Thursday 28 May.
The Legionella bacteria is commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes. It can end up in artificial water supply systems, including air conditioning systems, water services and cooling towers.
Legionnaires' disease is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person.
It 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.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Legionnaires' disease cases increase in Edinburgh outbreak. [Online] (Updated 05 Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/1432837-Legionnaires-disease-cases-increase-in-Edinburgh-outbreak [Accessed 13th May 2013]
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