Investigation into legionella cases shuts factory

An investigation has been launched following the confirmation of two cases of Legionnaires' disease in Scotland.

Two workers, both employed by Baxters of Speyside in Fochabers, Moray, are being treated for legionella infection at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

A spokesperson for NHS Grampian confirmed that two people who worked at the food production factory had been diagnosed with Legionnaires' disease.

"The two patients, who are employees of Baxters of Speyside, are being treated at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

"NHS Grampian, Moray Council and the Health and Safety Executive are working together to investigate the outbreak. Baxters of Speyside is included in this investigation and is co-operating fully."

The spokesperson said: "People become infected when they breathe in air that contains legionella bacteria which have been dispersed in very fine droplets known as aerosols. Person to person spread does not occur nor is it a food borne illness."

NHS Grampian has informed all GPs and out of hours medical services.

A further meeting of the Outbreak Control Team which involves NHS Grampian, Moray Council and the Health and Safety Executive will be held today.

Following the confirmation of the cause of the workers' illness, Baxters sent home all the workers and shut down production at the plant as a precaution.

Legionnaires' Disease is an acute bacterial infection that may cause "flu-like" symptoms with muscle aches, tiredness, dry cough and fever. In the most severe cases pneumonia may develop.

The disease was named after an outbreak of flu-like pneumonia at an ex-servicemen's convention organised by the American Legion, which was attributed to a bacteria discovered in the hot water system used to supply the showers.


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