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Legionnaires’ disease ‘outbreak’ in Scotland

5 August 2013

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Legionnaires’ disease infections have reached double figures in one Scottish town, reports have shown. 

Water cooling towers have been treated with anti-Legionnaires’ disease chemicals after two patients fell ill with the disease, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10. 

Legionnaires’ is spread through water cooling towers as well as air conditioning units and showers. 

The local public health protection unit is working closely with the council and Health Protection Scotland to identidfy a possible source for the infection. 

A number of water cooling towers have now been sampled for the bacteria. 

Dr Gillian Penrice, the board’s Consultant in Public Health, said: “We have notified all community GPs and our frontline hospital teams to keep this outbreak uppermost in their minds when dealing with patients displaying symptoms of headache, fever, dry cough, breathing difficulties, stomach pains and diarrhoea.”

At the latest meeting of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Outbreak Control Team, it was revealed that dealing with an outbreak at the end of June cost the health service £750,000. 

Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon but serious form of pneumonia, caused by bacteria distributed widely in natural and artificial water supplies.