Third Briton dies from legionnaires disease


A third British holidaymaker has died from contracting Legionnaires' disease while on holiday in Spain, the Valencia regional government said today.

The elderly man was originally thought to have died from heart problems after staying at the Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe, southern Spain, but his death was later reclassified.

Two other elderly men have also died from the outbreak after staying at the hotel.

The men, who have not been named, were aged between 73 and 78.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office confirmed a third death, saying: "We are aware of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Calpe. Local health authorities have confirmed the death of three British nationals as a result and are investigating.

"We are providing consular assistance to those affected by the outbreak and their families."

Two of the men were found dead in their hotel rooms on January 26 and 31 and another man died in hospital on February 1.

All three were on holiday with over-50s group Saga.

The company's head of communications, Paul Green, said: "Of the January 26 and 31 deaths, neither gentleman had come forward as feeling unwell so neither was being treated for Legionella.

"Both were found in their respective hotel rooms by a member of staff.

"Initially the suspected cause was heart failure but we understand the Spanish health authorities say Legionella may have been a contributing factor.

"There have been no confirmed diagnoses of Legionella since January 29."

Mr Green added that three people were being treated in a Spanish hospital and responding well to medication on a normal ward.

One person has been discharged.

Five others who recently stayed at the same hotel were treated in hospital in the UK and all but one have been discharged.

Saga said they moved all clients to a new hotel after their expert conducted tests on water samples.

The company said: "This is clearly a very upsetting time for families and staff.

"We have sent extra people to Spain to support them in any way we can.

"We treat people on our holidays as part of the family and this is a great tragedy and our condolences go out."

The company will be offering compensation to the holidaymakers who contracted the bacterium and has suspended sending clients to the hotel.