14:27 28 July 2012
Six men and one woman are being treated in a hospital after a sudden outbreak of the Legionnaire’s disease occurred in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Health Protection Agency confirmed that the patients were aged between late 40s and 75 years of age. Investigation shows that these cases are linked to two cases of the same disease earlier in the summer as well as to the three deaths recorded in Edinburgh after a similar outbreak occurred at the end of May.
The seven most recent cases are being treated at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent. On their condition, a spokesperson from the HPA commented: “Two men in their 70s remain stable; the remaining patients are improving.”
The Health Protection Unit in Stafford also said, through director Professor Harsh Duggal, that investigations were underway to determine the source of the outbreak. They are said to be taking a detailed history of the movements of all the patients to look for ‘similar patterns’ that would point to ‘a local source of the infection’.
Legionnaires' disease is a rare but life-threatening disease caused by bacteria associated with water systems. It ‘cannot be passed from person to person’, clarifies Professor Duggal. Early symptoms of the disease include flu-like illness, muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough, and fever.
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