Man Dies In Edinburgh As Cases Of Legionnaires' Disease Increase

A man has died as the number of confirmed and suspected cases of Legionnaires' disease in an Edinburgh outbreak continues to rise.

The 50-year-old man, who had underlying health conditions, was being treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

NHS Lothian said it was dealing with 17 confirmed and 15 suspected cases but added that it expected more.

The Scottish government has also said it is doing everything possible to try to identify the source and a meeting of its resilience committee has been scheduled for Wednesday morning to co-ordinate the official response to the outbreak.

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 of the disease, which cannot be spread directly from person to person.

Sixteen cooling towers at four industrial sites in the area have been treated and checked by environmental health staff in an attempt to halt the outbreak, however test results may not be available for several more days.

Dr Duncan McCormick, a consultant in public health medicine, said: "I would like to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that Legionnaires' disease cannot be contracted by drinking water.

"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."


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