Seven people are now being treated for Legionnaires’ disease in an outbreak in Stoke-on-Trent. Six men and one woman, ages 40-75 have been affected. The 2 men in their 70s are described as “stable” and the other patients are said to be “improving”. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said all seven patients were being treated at
the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Prof Harsh Duggal, director of the Health Protection Unit in Stafford, said: “While we do not currently have a direct link between the cases, the evidence points to the fact that there is a common source.
“We are taking detailed histories of the movements of the patients to see if there are similar patterns which would indicate a local source of infection. “Legionnaires’ disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. It is caused by a bacteria commonly associated with water systems and cannot be passed from person to person.” BBC
The HPA also stated it was sinvestigating 2 cases identified in early summer as being possibly linked to the current cluster. Also the agency is working with the Health and Safety Executive, the NHS in Stoke and the city council to try to identify and control any possible sources of the disease. The 7 cases don’t require hospitalization.
Staff in the area have been told to watch for people with flu like symptoms, such as muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever which can lead to pneumonia. Diarrhea and confusion may also occur as well as chest and breathing symptoms. The disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics. There were 239 cases of the disease in England and Wales in 2011, including 23 in the West Midlands.