Legionnaires death in Shrewsbury
An elderly man suffering with suspected Legionnaires' disease has died in hospital, public health officials confirmed today.
The 77-year-old man, from Whitchurch, Shropshire, was admitted to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on Monday and died yesterday.
He was the fifth person to be treated for the disease at the hospital in recent weeks and a Health Protection Agency investigation into possible sources of the infection continues.
The HPA said the patient who died had been out of the country for a week in August but that it was being assumed for the purposes of the inquiry that his infection had been acquired locally.
Dr Rob Carr, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control, said there was still no evidence of a single source of infection that could have lead to the Legionnaires death.
He said: "This patient had been abroad but as we cannot be certain that he caught the infection overseas, we are investigating possible local sources.
"Clusters of Legionnaires' disease cases were reported throughout the country during July and August and it may very well be possible that our local cases have been due to some common underlying reason, such as unusual weather conditions. We just don't know.
"The comforting news is that the number of cases reported nationally and locally has reduced."
Legionnaires death could have been caused from contaminated water
Dr Carr stressed that Legionnaires' disease could not be passed from person to person but was usually caught by inhaling fine mists of water contaminated with the organism.
He added: "We have looked at possible sources such as water towers in localities where patients lived and worked without finding any obvious cause of infection."
Two of the other four patients recently admitted to the hospital with suspected Legionnaires' disease have been excluded from the investigation, the HPA said.
Tests have established that one, who lived locally, acquired his infection overseas and he has been discharged.
A second, from Montgomery in North Wales, was found to be infected with a strain unrelated to the others and has also been discharged.
The two remaining patients, from Whitchurch and Oswestry, are said to be recovering in hospital.
More than 120 cases of the disease have been reported across the country since the start of last month, with all areas of England and Wales affected.
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