Increase in Cases of the Deadly Bug Legionnaires Disease in UK Prompts Health Experts Investigation

UK Legionnaires disease cases 

14.09.2006

An increase in cases of the deadly bug Legionnaires in England and Wales has prompted health experts to investigate. Patients show flu-like symptoms in the early stages which can develop into fever and breathing difficulties. Specialist Legionnaires solicitor Clive Garner comments.

An increase in cases of the deadly bug Legionnaires in England and Wales has prompted the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to launch an investigation.

Legionnaires is a virulent bug most commonly caught by inhaling mist from contaminated water sources such as whirlpool baths, showers and cooling towers - most commonly air conditioning systems, and is usually treated with antibiotics.

Patients show flu-like symptoms in the early stages which can develop into fever and breathing difficulties.

It can be fatal - up to fifteen per cent of people affected die from the disease. It can't be passed from one person to another.

Legionnaires disease symptoms

Legionnaires disease symptoms range from Flu-like illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever, possibly pneumonia

Sometimes diarrhoea occurs and confusion may develop.

The Health Protection Agency has been notified of 127 cases since the start of August and this number is expected to rise further.

There were 63 reported cases of Legionnaires in August 2005.

One person in North East Lincolnshire has died from the disease.

Another set of people affected have been treated at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

And three people in Shrewsbury are being treated for the disease in hospital.

Specialist Legionnaires solicitor

Clive Garner, head of the travel litigation team at Irwin Mitchell and a specialist Legionnaires solicitor said:

"We are used to seeing cases of people who have contracted Legionnaires abroad are have taken action on their arrival back in the UK. But it is unusual to see such a large number of cases, and for these to have been mostly contracted in the UK.

"Legionnaires disease can have drastic effects. It is important that adequate safeguards are put in place wherever possible in order to prevent the disease from developing in the first place.

"If adequate safeguards are not put in place then the organisation responsible may be liable for the damage suffered.

Once developed, it should be treated quickly. It can usually be treated quickly and effectively with antibiotics from your GP."

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