21/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 12:01

Edinburgh Legionnaires' outbreak: Hope for 'drop-off' in cases

Category: Scotland

Published: 8th Jun 2012 10:32:06

It is hoped the number of cases of Legionnaires' disease in the Edinburgh outbreak will drop off in the coming days, according to Scotland's chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns.

However, he said that would only be the case if cooling towers in the south west of the city had correctly been identified as the source.

A total of 61 cases have so far been confirmed or are suspected.

One man - 56-year-old Robert Air - has died in the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced a further 10 new cases in a media statement on Thursday afternoon.

She said one of the patients was being treated in the Highlands and one was being treated in the north of England.

The outbreak covers areas in the south west of the city and health officials believe it is connected to an outdoor source, possibly a cooling tower.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Sir Harry Burns said: "Typically it takes six to ten days for the disease to incubate.

"So they (the cooling towers) were treated last weekend, you would hope that in the course of the next few days we would begin to see a drop-off in the number of cases, and if that is observed then we can be more confident that these cooling towers are the source.

"If it doesn't happen then clearly there is a more complicated background to this and further investigations will be required."

The BBC understands tests have been carried out at four sites.

They include the cooling towers at:

Scotland's chief medical officer also said the cases presenting to hospitals over the past few days had been "less severe".

He added: "It may be that people who are developing symptoms now have had more resistance to the growth of the bug and their immunity is keeping it under check.

"More people have been discharged from hospital. More people are being managed in the community.

"The reality of this kind of disease is that many people will have symptoms of a cold and they will never be unwell enough to be tested for Legionella."

Residents are being leafleted with information on the disease and what they should do if they are worried they could be at risk.

GPs have been provided with information on spotting the signs of infection and a dedicated NHS helpline has been set up on 0800 0858 531.

It is believed that more than 100 people have contacted the special line.

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BBC News, 2012. Edinburgh Legionnaires' outbreak: Hope for 'drop-off' in cases [Online] (Updated 8th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1433423/Edinburgh-Legionnaires-outbreak-Hope-for-drop-off-in-cases [Accessed 21st Aug 2014]

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