Legionniares' outbreak in Edinburgh kills 1
Fifteen people are in intensive care after an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, and investigators are trying to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.
Wed, Jun 06, 2012 at 05:09 AM
A man has died and 15 people are in intensive care in hospital following an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh, health authorities said, as investigators raced to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.
The man in his 50s who had existing health problems died while being treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian confirmed.
Thirteen men and two women aged between 33 and 74 are in a critical condition in hospitals in the Lothian area, while one man has recovered and been discharged.
Another 15 unconfirmed cases are suspected with 10 men and five women being treated for symptoms.
The source of the outbreak is still being investigated but most of the confirmed cases have been linked to the Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton areas in the south-west of the city.
Industrial cooling towers have been identified as a possible source of the infection and cooling systems at four facilities have been chemically treated, NHS Lothian said.
Dr Duncan McCormick, consultant in public health medicine and chairman of the incident management team at NHS Lothian, said: ?I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient that died.
?Investigations into the possible source of this outbreak are ongoing. Meanwhile, medical staff have been actively identifying possible cases to allow us to ascertain the full extent of this outbreak."
Scotland's Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon will chair a meeting of the Scottish Government's Resilience Committee Wednesday morning, where she will be updated on the outbreak.
NHS Lothian moved to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that Legionnaire?s disease cannot be contracted by drinking water.
The disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water and cannot be spread directly from person to person.
Legionella bacteria is commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes and can get into artificial water supply systems, including air conditioning systems, water services and cooling towers.
Copyright 2012 AFP European Edition