Rise in Legionnaires' disease cases


The number of cases of Legionnaires' disease recorded in a deadly outbreak has risen again.

The overall number of cases in the Edinburgh outbreak now stands at 95, an increase of two since the last update on Thursday.

There are now 48 confirmed cases and 47 suspected cases, a rise of one in both categories.

Two people have died since the first case was identified at the end of May.

Of those being treated in hospital, three patients are in intensive care and 12 are on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 51 have been discharged from hospital and seven are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area.

All of the confirmed cases are aged between 33 and 85, with more men affected than women.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "As well as the efforts being made by health service staff to treat those who are critically ill in hospital, a tremendous amount of work is being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive and the City of Edinburgh Council to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."

Legionella bacteria is commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes. It can end up in artificial water supplies such as air conditioning systems, water services and cooling towers.

Legionnaires' disease 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, and can begin at any time between two and 14 days after exposure to the bacteria.

About half of those who contract the disease will also experience changes to their mental state, such as confusion.

The condition is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person.