Man dies in legionnaires' outbreak
Saturday 03 August 2002
A man aged 89 has died of legionnaires' disease and at least 19 people have been infected in an outbreak that has led to part of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, being sealed off.
Nine of those diagnosed were in intensive care last night and 10 were described as poorly. A further 36 were suspected of having contracted the illness.
A search was under way to find the source and doctors warned that more people could be at risk. The outbreak of the disease, which kills up to 20 per cent of its victims, is one of the biggest recorded.
Some of the centre of the former shipbuilding town was closed to the public last night. A council-run leisure facility opposite the town hall was cordoned off by police, and water samples taken. Air conditioning units, in which the legionnaires' bacterium breeds, were shut down in eight buildings.
Asked if the disease was likely to claim more lives, Ian Cumming, the chief executive of the Morecambe Bay NHS Hospitals Trust, said: "Unfortunately, that is probably going to be the case."
The potential threat will only be known when the source is found. Hospitals a common source of the bacteria have been ruled out, so the signs point to the town centre, where all 20 people confirmed with the disease had been recently.
The bacteria thrive in water, and inhalation from droplets in air conditioning units is a common cause of infection. "It is likely to be a big air conditioning unit. It is not going to be one hanging on the wall in a shop," Mr Cumming said.Symptoms are flu-like, followed by fever and chills, and then a dry cough.
Non-urgent surgery was cancelled at the Furness General hospital and hospitals in Kendal and Lancaster were preparing to help treat cases. Mr Cumming said: "The disease has an incubation period of five to 10 days. We are looking at something in the region of another 10 people a day for the next 10 days."
The infected patients had been arriving at hospital with a diagnosis of pneumonia but medical staff became suspicious when the number rose significantly above normal levels.
Life & Style blogs
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Zebra meat: Exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...