U.S. Water News Online
LONDON -- Ninety-four people were hospitalized after the
worst Legionnaires' disease outbreak in nearly a decade -- an
outbreak that already has killed one elderly man in northwest
Sixty-four of those patients were confirmed to have the illness
while the remaining 30 were suspected of having it, health officials
said. Eighteen people were in intensive care units at five hospitals.
At the start of the outbreak, officials said they expected nearly
100 more cases to emerge in the next week or so.
Public health officials investigating the outbreak said they
believed its source was the water in the air conditioning system at a
community center in the town of Barrow-in-Furness.
Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria in
water droplets. The legionella bacteria are found in water, and the
source of infection in most major outbreaks has been water in the
heating or air conditioning systems of public buildings.
Some people can be infected with the bug and have mild symptoms or
no illness at all, but between 5 percent and 30 percent of the
Tests conducted on the water plant at the community center
revealed legionella bacteria.
The local council that runs the community center has turned over
all documents to police. A council officer responsible for
maintenance of the center's air conditioning system was suspended
pending the results of a police and Health and Safety Executive
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