Published Date: 2012-06-06 15:14:35
Subject: PRO/EDR> Legionellosis - UK (03): (Scotland) fatal
Archive Number: 20120606.1157653
LEGIONELLOSIS - UK (03): (SCOTLAND) FATAL
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 5 Jun 2012
Source: BBC News Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland [edited]
A man in his 50s has died as the number of confirmed and suspected cases of legionnaires' disease in an Edinburgh outbreak continues to rise. The man, who had underlying health conditions, was being treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
NHS [National Health Service] Lothian says it is dealing with 17 confirmed and 15 suspected cases.
The source of the infection is still being investigated. The potential area for infection is estimated at about 44 square miles [114 sq km]. This is because NHS Lothian is working on the basis that the potential area of infection is about 7.5 miles [12 km] in diameter.
Industrial water-cooling towers in the south west of Edinburgh, where all of the cases have come from, have been identified as a potential source. 16 cooling towers in the area have been treated by environmental health staff in an attempt to halt the outbreak.
Dr Duncan McCormick, a consultant in public health medicine, said medical staff were identifying possible cases in an attempt to discover the full extent of the outbreak. "I would like to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that legionnaires' disease cannot be contracted by drinking water," he said. "Older people, particularly men, heavy smokers and those with other health conditions, are at greater risk of contracting the disease. I would urge anyone who develops symptoms of legionnaires' disease to contact NHS 24 or their GP."
NHS Lothian said the majority of the confirmed cases were linked to the Dalry, Gorgie, and Saughton areas of the city. 13 men and 2 women, aged between 33 and 74, are in a critical condition and are being treated in intensive care in hospitals in Lothian. The 1st case was identified on Mon 28 May.
The legionella bacterium is commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes. It can end up in artificial water supply systems, including air conditioning systems, water services, and cooling towers. Legionnaires' disease is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. It 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.
[Since last posted by ProMED-mail (Legionellosis - UK (02): (Scotland) 20120605.1156972), the numbers of confirmed and suspected cases of legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh, Scotland have rapidly increased from 6 to 17 and 4 to 15, respectively, and there is now one death from this disease. For a discussion of legionnaires' disease, see ProMED-mail post Legionellosis - UK (02): (Scotland) 20120605.1156972.
Lothian is a region of the Scottish Lowlands that includes Edinburgh City. For a map of this region, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lothian. Saughton is a suburb to the west of Edinburgh. Dalry and Gorgie are to the immediate east of Saughton close to the center of Edinburgh (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalry,_Edinburgh). For a map showing Saughton, Dalry, and Gorgie, see http://www.maplandia.com/united-kingdom/scotland/scotland/city-of-edinburgh/gorgie/.
Scotland can be located in the interactive HealthMap/ProMED-mail map at http://healthmap.org/r/2wlL. - Mod.ML]