Outbreak of Legionella in South West Edinburgh. Update - 18/07/2012

Update - 18/07/12

The Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak has been declared over by the Incident Management Team (IMT).

The IMT, which is chaired by NHS Lothian and includes representatives from the Health and Safety Executive, City of Edinburgh Council and Health Protection Scotland, met yesterday (Tuesday 17 July) to review the latest position.

To date, there are a total of 101 confirmed and suspected cases. All of these cases have links to the south west of Edinburgh and fit the timescales of exposure and the incubation period for developing Legionella-related illness.

Detailed investigations into the source of the outbreak continue with further testing and analysis of the environmental samples taken from potential sources being carried out.

Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Research is also underway to better understand the full extent of the outbreak.

Dr Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health and Health Policy, NHS Lothian said:

“As we have seen over the last week, we can expect further cases who have been ill for some time to continue to come forward and our increased surveillance will continue.

“However, all the evidence is suggesting that the action taken when the outbreak was first identified was effective and all cases fall within the expected incubation period, so the decision has been made to declare the outbreak over.

"Laboratory work is ongoing to try and identify the source conclusively but, as we have said from the start, it may not be possible to do so.

 “There is also more work to be done to gain a better understanding of the scale of the outbreak and how to manage outbreaks in the future.  We hope that people who are approached to participate in these studies will come forward and help us with this significant piece of research.”

A full report into the outbreak detailing the epidemiological, environmental, meteorological and microbiological investigations and recommendations for the prevention and control of future outbreaks will now be produced.


ENDS

Note to Editors:

·         The daily updated on the number of cases will no longer be issued.

·         Forming an Incident Management Team is a standard public health response.​


Update - 17/07/12

No new cases of Legionnaires’

No new cases in the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak have been reported today. This means the total number of overall cases remains at 101. 

The total number of confirmed cases is 53 and the number of suspected cases remains at 48.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there were two patients in intensive care and four on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 61 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"I am pleased to see that no further cases have emerged today. The evidence continues to suggest that the outbreak has peaked.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."


Update - 16/07/12​

One further person confirmed with Legionnaires’

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that one further person has been confirmed with the illness. The person has been unwell for some time, and this brings the total number of overall cases to 101.

The total number of confirmed cases is 53 and the number of suspected cases remains at 48.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there were two patients in intensive care and five on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 61 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Over recent days as expected, we have not seen as many cases of Legionnaires’ as we did at the peak of the outbreak, and this continues to offer reassurance that the outbreak remains under control.

“I would continue to urge anyone who is concerned they may have ongoing symptoms of Legionnaires’ to contact NHS 24 or speak to their GP.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."



Update - 13/07/12

No new cases have been reported today in the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak.

The total number of overall cases remains at 100.

The total number of confirmed cases is 52 and the number of suspected cases is 48.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there were two patients in intensive care and five on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 60 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Over recent days as expected, we have not seen as many cases of Legionnaires’ as we did at the peak of the outbreak, and this continues to offer reassurance that the outbreak remains under control.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."


Update - 11/07/12

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show no change in the number of cases.

This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 51, the number of suspected cases is 48 and the total number of overall cases remains at 99.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there was one patient in intensive care and six on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 59 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"I am pleased to see that no further cases have emerged today. The evidence continues to suggest that the outbreak has peaked.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues."


Update - 09/07/2012

No cases have been confirmed in the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak for the sixth day in a row.

This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 50, the number of suspected cases is 49 and the total number of overall cases remains at 99.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there were two patients in intensive care and seven on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 59 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"I am pleased to see that no further cases have emerged for the sixth day in a row, and the evidence continues to suggest that the outbreak has peaked.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues." 


Update - 06/07/2012

 
The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’outbreak show no change in the number of cases for the third consecutive day.
 
This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 50, the number of suspected cases is 49 and the total number of overall cases remains at 99.
 
At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there were two patients in intensive care and seven on general wards.
 
A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 59 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.
 
Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.
 
Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
 
"I am pleased to see that no further cases have emerged today. The evidence continues to suggest that the outbreak has peaked.
 
"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues."


Update - 05/07/2012

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’outbreak show no change in the number of cases for the second day in a row.
 
This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 50, the number of suspected cases is 49 and the total number of overall cases remains at 99.
 
At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there are two patients in intensive care and seven on general wards.
 
A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 59 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.
 
Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.
 
Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
 
"The evidence continues to suggest that the outbreak has peaked.
 
"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues."

 

Update - 04/07/2012


The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’outbreak show no change in the number of cases.
 
This means the total number of confirmed cases is 50, the number of suspected cases is 49 and the total number of overall cases remains at 99.
 
At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there are two patients in intensive care and seven on general wards.
 
A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 57 have been discharged from hospital and three people have sadly died.
 
Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.
 
Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
 
"Strong evidence continues to suggests that the outbreak has peaked.
 
"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues."


Update - 03/07/2012

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’outbreak show that an individual suspected of having the disease has died. 

The individual, a man in his 60s from south west Edinburgh, had been unwell for a period of time, and is considered to be part of the original outbreak. 

The total number of confirmed cases remains at 50 and the number of suspected cases is now 49.

The total number of overall cases is 99.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there are three patients in intensive care and six on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 57 have been discharged from hospital and now three people in total have sadly died.

Ten cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

Investigations into the source and cause of the outbreak continue.  Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the patient who has passed away and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

"Despite this sad and tragic news, is important to stress that strong evidence still suggests that all cases are associated with the suspected period of exposure and that the outbreak has peaked.

“I repeat the message that anyone in the affected areas suffering from symptoms since the outbreak began should contact their GP or the NHS 24. 

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and work to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak continues."

Dr Christine Evans, Consultant in Public Health Medicine said: 

“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient who has died.

“We continue to see a small number of cases or suspected cases coming forward. I would like to reassure the public that this is in line with expectations. All of these patients have been ill for some time and have links to the south west of Edinburgh.”

Background: 

For anyone who is concerned about the outbreak, there is information on NHS Lothian’s website or you can contact NHS 24 dedicated legionnaires’ helpline on 0800 0858 531.


Update - 28/06/2012​

The number of people affected by the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak has remained static for three days.

No new cases have been reported today, which means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 48 and the total number of suspected cases is 47.

The total number of overall cases is 95.

And two more of the patients who were hospitalised as part of the outbreak have now been discharged from hospital.

That means, at noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there remains three patients in intensive care and 10 on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 53 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“It is encouraging that the number of people affected by Legionnaires’ has not increased for the past three days and that two people have now been discharged from hospital. This continues to offer reassurance that the outbreak is under control.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."


Update - 27/06/2012

For the second day in a row, no new cases in the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak have been reported.

This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 48 and the total number of suspected cases is 47.

The total number of overall cases is 95.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there remains three patients in intensive care and 12 on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 51 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am pleased to see that the number of people affected by Legionnaires’ has remained static for the second day in a row, and this continues to offer reassurance that the outbreak is under control.

"NHS Lothian are maintaining high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."


Update - 26/06/2012

No new cases in the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak have been reported today.
This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 48 and the total number of suspected cases is 47.

The total number of overall cases is 95.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, there remains three patients in intensive care and 12 on general wards.

A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 51 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:
“It is encouraging to see that the number of people affected by Legionnaires’ remains unchanged and these numbers offer reassurance that the outbreak is under control.

"NHS Lothian are continuing to maintain high quality care for patients who remain unwell and investigations continue to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak."

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said: “In line with expectations, we saw a small number of cases being confirmed over the weekend.

“The incident management team met this afternoon and discussed the criteria for declaring the outbreak over. It was agreed that, as the information gathering process of these new cases is ongoing, that it is too early to declare the outbreak over and the IMT will meet early next week to review this.”

Update - 25/06/2012

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show an increase in cases of the disease – one confirmed and one suspected.

This means the total number of confirmed cases is now 48 and the total number of suspected cases is 47. The total number of overall cases is now 95.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, three are in intensive care – an increase from two on Friday - and 12 are on general wards. A total of 20 cases are being treated in the community, 51 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 85, with more males than females affected.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“As well as the efforts being made by health service staff to treat those who are critically ill in hopsital, a tremendous amount of work is being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive and the City of Edinburgh Council to identify and deal with the source of the outbreak.”


Update - 22/06/2012

Test results presented to the Incident Management Team (IMT), which is coordinating the response to the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, have identified the most common type of Legionella bacterium, Legionella pneumophila serogroup1, as the cause of infection in patients.

There are three strands to the investigation being carried out by the IMT.

The first is to analyse samples from patients. While the most common type of Legionella bacterium has been identified, specialised tests are underway to further characterise the type of the bacterium.

The second strand has involved reviewing the epidemiological and meteorological evidence which includes the distribution of cases, the location of possible sources and the weather patterns. From this the IMT have concluded that there was a common outdoor, airborne exposure to the Legionella bacterium over south west Edinburgh which probably started around Wednesday 23 May 2012.  This evidence is also suggesting that the source of this exposure is most likely to have been the cluster of cooling towers in Wheatfield Road, Edinburgh.

The final strand of the investigation has been to analyse the environmental samples taken from the potential sources. After extensive testing using standard methods, there is no current microbiological evidence to positively confirm the presence of Legionella pneumophila in any of the samples taken from any of the potential sources. Further analysis of these samples is on-going.

The Incident Management Team is continuing to investigate the source and cause of the outbreak. 

Lothian and Borders Police and the Health and Safety Executive are jointly investigating the circumstances of the two deaths under the direction of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division.

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said: 

“Evidence to date is pointing to an airborne exposure to Legionella in the south west of Edinburgh starting around Wednesday 23 May. The IMT took immediate action on Sunday 3 June, when a cluster of cases was identified, to ensure cooling towers in the area were treated with high doses of chemical disinfectant.

“Our investigation into the outbreak is on-going and it is reassuring that the number of people who have been confirmed as having Legionnaires’ disease has slowed over the past week in line with our expectations.”

A spokesman for the City of Edinburgh Council said: “Our role in the investigation is to take samples from cooling towers in the city which are then analysed by our Edinburgh Scientific Services laboratory.

“We have also carried out inspections at cooling towers and Environmental Health staff have visited various other locations as part of our investigation into this public health incident.”

As at noon today, the number of confirmed cases is 47 and the number of suspected cases is 46. The total number of overall cases is 93.

Of those cases being treated in hospital, one is in intensive care and 17 are on general wards.

A total of 19 cases are being treated in the community, 47 have been discharged from hospital and two people have died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 32 and 85, with more males than females affected.


ENDS


Note to Editors:

  • Forming an Incident Management Team is a standard public health response.
  • An interim report on the response to the outbreak will be presented to the NHS Lothian board at its meeting next week (Wednesday 27 June).


 

Update - 21/06/2012

Overall cases now stand at 93
 
The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that the number of overall cases now stands at 93.
 
This is an increase of two cases on yesterday’s total of 91.
 
There are now 47 confirmed cases, an increase of three and 46 suspected cases, a fall of one.
 
As these additional cases have been ill for a period of time, expert advice remains that the infection control measures have been effective and that the outbreak is under control.
 
At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, two are in intensive care and 16 are on general wards. 47 patients have been discharged and two patients have sadly died.  
 
The Health and Safety executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.
 
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

 “These numbers continue to be in line with expectations and it is encouraging to see a further drop in the number of cases in intensive care. However we must remember that these people remain critically ill and NHS Lothian continue to provide expert, round the clock care.”

 Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said: “The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease in Lothian has risen by three in the last 24 hours. One of the suspected cases has now been confirmed. The other two new cases tie in with the incubation period and is in line with out expectation as the outbreak tails off. It is reassuring that the number of people who have recovered and been discharged continues to increase.”
 

 

Update - 20/06/2012

No increase in cases for second day in a row

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that there are no further confirmed or suspected cases of the disease. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 44 and the total number of suspected cases remains at 47.  The total number of overall cases is at 91.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, three are in intensive care – a reduction from six yesterday - and 18 are on general wards.

A total of 19 cases are being treated in the community, 44 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 85, with more males than females affected.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is encouraging to see no further cases of legionnaires’ being confirmed today and the numbers in intensive care declining even further. NHS Lothian who are continuing to provide the very best treatment to the remaining six individuals who are critically ill."

 

Update - 18/06/2012

Increase but evidence suggests outbreak under control

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show an increase in two people confirmed with the disease. These cases have both been ill for some time.

This means the total number of confirmed cases is now 44 and the total number of suspected cases remains unchanged at 47.  The total number of overall cases is now 91 – up from 89 yesterday.

As these additional cases have been ill for a period of time, expert advice remains that the infection control measures have been effective and that the outbreak is under control.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, seven are in intensive care, down from a high of 15 last Sunday, and 18 are on general wards.

A total of 19 cases are being treated in the community, 38 have been discharged from hospital and two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 85, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has now received 945 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I am pleased to see that the number being treated in intensive care has not increased. However, these people remain critically ill and NHS Lothian are continuing to provide expert, round the clock care.

"For anyone who is concerned about the outbreak, there is information on NHS Lothian’s website NHS 24 dedicated legionnaires’ helpline can be reached on 0800 0858 531.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian, said:

“The number of confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease in Lothian has risen by two in the last 24 hours.
“This does not mean that these new patients have been newly infected with Legionnaire’s disease, but are still part of the original outbreak and tie in with the expected incubation period of between two and 14 days.
“We will continue to monitor services and overall the numbers of people seeking treatment or with concerns has fallen in recent days.”


 
 

Update - 17/06/2012

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show no further suspected or confirmed cases of the disease. 

This means the total number of confirmed cases remains at 42 and the total number of suspected cases remains at 47. The total number of overall cases is 89.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, seven are in intensive care, down from a high of 15 last Sunday, and 17 are on general wards.

A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 38 have been discharged from hospital and following confirmation of an additional death earlier this week, two people have sadly died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 81, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has now received 936 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"The number of cases involved in the outbreak remains static and this is further evidence that the outbreak has reached its peak.

"NHS Lothian are continuing to maintain high quality care for patients who remain unwell.

"For anyone who is concerned about the outbreak, the NHS 24 dedicated legionnaires’ helpline will remain open throughout the weekend and can be reached on 0800 0858 531."

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian, said:

"I am pleased to see that once again the total numbers of patients with Legionnaire's disease remain unchanged. It is also very enouraging to see that two more patients have recovered and been discharged home in the last 24 hours.
"This reflects the hard work and quality ongoing care being provided by staff across NHS Lothian."

Update - 16/06/2012​

One previously suspected case confirmed 

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show one further, previously suspected, case of the disease has been confirmed. 

This means the total number of confirmed cases is now 42 and the total number of suspected cases is 47, a drop of one from yesterday. 

The total number of overall cases is 89.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, eight are in intensive care, down from a high of 15 on Sunday, and 18 are on general wards.

A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 36 have been discharged from hospital and following confirmation of an additional death earlier this week, two people have sadly died. 

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 81, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has now received 917 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak. 

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is very saddening that this outbreak has claimed two lives. However, it is reassuring that the number of cases involved in the outbreak remains static and this is further evidence that the outbreak has reached its peak.

"For anyone who is concerned about the outbreak, the NHS 24 dedicated legionnaires’ helpline will remain open throughout the weekend and can be reached on 0800 0858 531.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: "I am pleased to see that once again the numbers of patients with Legionnaires’ disease remain static and in line with our predictions.

"One of the suspected cases has been confirmed in the last 24 hours and again that is to be expected. It also reflects the ongoing care and hard work being provided by staff across NHS Lothian."



Update - 15/06/2012

Number of confirmed cases remains the same
 
The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that there are no further cases of the disease.
 
This means the total number of confirmed cases is still 41 and the total number of suspected cases remains at 48.
 
The total number of overall cases is 89.
 
At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, nine are in intensive care, down from a high of 15 on Sunday, and 17 are on general wards.
 
A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 36 have been discharged from hospital and following confirmation of an additional death last night, two people have sadly died. 
 
Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 81, with more males than females affected.
 
NHS 24 has now received 868 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.
 
The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak. Edinburgh City Council has served an improvement notice on one of the organisations responsible for one of the cooling towers which has been investigated as part of the outbreak. This is on the grounds of staff training and does not mean that this tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: 
 
“I would like to take this opportunity to again express my sincere sympathy to the friends and family of the patient who passed away yesterday. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time. 
 
“This is an extremely sad development, however it is reassuring that the number of cases involved in the outbreak remains static and this is further evidence that the outbreak has reached its peak.
 
"For anyone who is concerned about the outbreak the NHS 24 dedicated legionnaires’ helpline will remain open throughout the weekend and can be reached on 0800 0858 531.”
 
Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health, NHS Lothian, said: 
 
“I would like again to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient who sadly died last night. This death, while extremely sad, was not wholly unexpected as the patient had significant underlying health issues.
“However, the outbreak does appear to have peaked.
“Unfortunately, that does not mean that, despite the best possible treatment, patients who are already ill may not deteriorate over coming days. It is also the case that we would expect the number of confirmed cases to rise as suspected cases become confirmed.”
 
 

Update - 14/06/2012​ 23:00

A further death linked to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Edinburgh has been con​firmed.​

A man with significant pre-existing underlying health conditions died earlier this evening in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon said:

"My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the patient who passed away in Edinburgh tonight in a case linked to the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the city. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

"Despite this sad and tragic development, it remains the case that we believe the outbreak to have peaked. However, we continue to monitor the situation carefully and advise anyone with any concerns to contact the special NHS 24 helpline on 08000 85 85 31.

"The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing to make progress in their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak."

Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the Incident Management Team and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said:

“Whilst we realised that further deaths were a possibility this additional death is extremely sad and I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient.”


Update - 13/06/2012

Two further confirmed cases

The latest reports on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that there are two further confirmed cases of the disease.

This takes the total confirmed cases to 41. There are two fewer suspected cases,  taking this total to 47. As a result the total number of overall cases remains unchanged from yesterday at 88.

At noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital 11 are in intensive care and 19 are on general wards.A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 32 have been discharged from hospital and one person has died. Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 81, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has received 831 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“These numbers today again offer reassurance that the worst of the outbreak is over. The increase of confirmed cases and reduction in the suspected cases is in line with our expectations. However, there is no room for complacency and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely over the coming days.

“Investigations are continuing into the source of the outbreak and the risk to the public remains low, however anyone who is concerned should continue to contact NHS 24’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0858 531 or their GP.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the Incident Management Team and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said:

“I am pleased to note that there has been no increase in the number of cases in the last 24 hours and that the total number of patients affected still remains at 88. These numbers are in line with what we would expect at this stage in the outbreak.

“The number of confirmed cases has increased by two to 41 but these two patients are not new and were known to us as suspected cases.

“It is encouraging to see that the number of patients being treated in critical care has reduced and that overall more patients are recovering and being discharged home.

“Staff are continuing to do an excellent job although it seems that the number of patients presenting with symptoms or concerns is beginning to tail off which is a welcome sign."


Update - 12/06/2012 17:00

Number of cases unchanged at 88

The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires' disease outbreak shows that the number of cases is unchanged.

There are 39 confirmed cases and 49 suspected cases. Of those cases being treated in hospital and as of noon today, 14 are in intensive care and 23 are on general wards.

A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 25 have been discharged from hospital and one person has died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has received 784 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires'
disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

"It is reassuring to see no increase in the number of cases and a small reduction in the number of hospitalised patients. However throughout this week we would still expect the level of confirmed cases to increase, as the actual status of suspected cases is confirmed.

"NHS Lothian are coping well with the situation and I would once again like to put on record my thanks to the hard work of all the staff involved. As well as this there continues to be close cooperation between City of Edinburgh Council and the Health and Safety Executive, as they make progress in the investigation to identify the source of the outbreak."

Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the IMT and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said:

 "The number of confirmed and suspected cases remain the same as before, which is encouraging and in line with our predictions. We do expect some fluctuation, but overall we anticipate the numbers will soon begin to fall.

"I am also pleased to note that the numbers of patients who have recovered and been discharged from hospital has risen today which is also a welcome trend.

"Staff across NHS Lothian in acute care, primary care, testing facilities, NHS 24 and in out-of-hours services are continuing their excellent work to ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time, while providing reassurance to those with concerns."

Background
Any member of the public with health concerns should contact NHS 24 on 0800
0858 531, or their GP.

A further update will be issued on the latest situation and the number of cases tomorrow afternoon.


Update - 11/06/2012 17:00

Number of cases stands at 88

The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak show that there are now 39 confirmed cases and 49 suspected cases. This is an increase of two in the total number of confirmed cases and an increase of four suspected cases.

As at noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, 14 are in intensive care and 26 are on general wards.

A total of 18 cases are being treated in the community, 22 have been discharged from hospital and one person has died.

Seven cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.

NHS 24 has received 718 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak and the HSE has today served a further two Improvement Notices on one of the companies responsible for one of the cooling towers which is being investigated. This does not mean that this tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Today’s developments, which show a slight increase, are in line with expectations.  With a 14 day incubation period, we would expect there to be fluctuations over the next week or so. It is reassuring however that all those involved are continuing to respond well to being treated. NHS Lothian services are coping with the demands and the City of Edinburgh Council and the Health and Safety Executive continue to make significant progress in their investigation to identify the source of this outbreak.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the IMT and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said: "The number of confirmed and suspected cases have again increased slightly in line with expectations. It is pleasing to see that 22 patients have now recovered and been discharged from hospital.

"Our GPs, out-of-hours services and NHS 24 have been doing an excellent job in reassuring the public and seeing those who have concerns or symptoms.

“The risk to the general public is low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24's dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531."


Update - 10/06/2012 16:00

Number of cases stands at 82
 
The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires' disease outbreak show that there are now 37 confirmed cases and 45 suspected cases. This is an increase of one in the total number of confirmed cases and an increase of one suspected case.
 
As at noon today, of those cases being treated in hospital, 15 are in intensive care and 26 are on general wards.
 
A total of 16 cases are being treated in the community, 19 have been discharged from hospital and one person has died.
 
Five cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. One patient is being treated in the north of England, two in NHS Tayside, one in NHS Lanarkshire and one patient from NHS Highland is now being treated in Glasgow. At this stage all these cases are considered to be linked to the south west Edinburgh outbreak.
 
The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.
 
NHS 24 has received 630 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires' disease.
 
The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "These latest figures are reassuring and in line with expectations, and although it is too early to be definite they do suggest we are now in the later stages of this outbreak. All those involved are responding extremely well: NHS Lothian services are coping with the demands on them and the City of Edinburgh Council and the Health and Safety Executive continue to make significant progress in their investigation to identify the source of this outbreak."
 
Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the IMT and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said: "We are pleased with the slow down in the number of cases presenting and we hope this will continue over the coming days.
 
"The risk to the general public is low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24's dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531."


Update - 09/06/2012 16:30

Number of cases stands at 80
 
The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak show that there are now 36 confirmed cases and 44 suspected cases. This is an increase of eight in the total numbers of confirmed and a decrease of two suspected cases.
 
As at 12pm today, of those cases being treated in hospital, 15 are in intensive care and 27 are in general wards.
 
A total of 16 cases are being treated in the community, 16 have been discharged from hospital and one person has sadly died.
 
Five cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area.  One patient is being treated in the north of England, two in NHS Tayside, one in NHS Lanarkshire and one patient from NHS Highland is now being treated in Glasgow. At this stage all these cases are considered to be linked to the south west Edinburgh outbreak.
 
The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.
 
The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.
 
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Although there has been a rise in the number of confirmed cases, it is reassuring to see that the number of suspected cases is decreasing and that 16 people have now been discharged from hospital.
 
“NHS Lothian continue to be very busy and contact has been made with other health boards in case capacity at other hospitals is required. However at this stage NHS Lothian continue to cope extremely well with the demands being placed on services.
 
“Investigations are continuing into the source of this outbreak. However it is important to note that the risk to the general public remains low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24’s dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531.
 
“I want to continue to stress that this bacteria is not passed on person to person or by drinking water.”
 
Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the IMT and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said: "The number of patients with confirmed or suspected Legionnaires' disease has continued to increase in line with our expectations.
 
"Our hospitals, GPs and out of hours services are doing an excellent job in responding to this outbreak and the increased pressure it has put on our services. 
 
"Infection with Legionella mainly causes mild symptoms. If symptoms are more severe and include pneumonia then the patient will be diagnosed with Legionnaires’ Disease. 
 
“Now that we are seeing more cases in the community with less severe symptoms, we have refined our recording of suspected cases to be only those suffering from pneumonia." 
 

 

Update - 08/06/2012 15:30

Number of cases stands at 74

The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak show that there are now 28 confirmed cases and 46 suspected cases. This is an increase of 13 on the total numbers of confirmed and suspected cases.

As at 12pm today, of those cases being treated in hospital, 14 were in intensive care and 30 are on general wards.

A total of 15 cases are being treated in the community, ten have been discharged from hospital and one person has sadly died.

Four cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area. A patient who was yesterday being treated in NHS Highland has now been transferred to Glasgow, one patient is being treated in the north of England, one in NHS Tayside and one in NHS Lanarkshire. At this stage all these cases are considered to be linked to the south west Edinburgh outbreak.

The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.

As of 10pm yesterday, NHS 24 had received 492 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.

The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak. The HSE has today served an Improvement Notice on one of the companies responsible for one of the cooling towers which is being investigated, although this does not mean that this tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “As we expected, we have seen a rise in the number of cases associated with this outbreak today. It is reassuring to see that ten people have now been discharged from hospital.

“NHS Lothian continues to be very busy and contact has been made with other health boards in case capacity at other hospitals is required.

“The fact remains that the risk to the general public remains low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24’s dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531.

“I want to stress that this bacteria is not passed on person to person or by drinking water.

“Investigations into the source of this outbreak are continuing. It is important to note that in issuing an Improvement Notice, the HSE does not believe there is an immediate risk to workers or members of the public. Nor can it be assumed that this tower is the source of the outbreak.

“Investigations into all of the other towers in the area are continuing.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the IMT and Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, said: "The number of patients with confirmed or suspected Legionnaires' disease has increased since yesterday. This is exactly in line with what we expected and what we have predicted so far, based on the first presentation of patients and the incubation period of Legionnaires’ disease which is between two and 14 days, but usually has an average of five to six days.

"We expect that the numbers of patients affected will peak over the weekend and then begin to fall as we move into the beginning of next week.

"The majority of patients who are presenting now are also on the lower end of the sickness scale and are therefore more likely to be treated in the community with appropriate care than be admitted into hospital, meaning that they are also unlikely to have underlying health conditions."


Update - 07/06/2012 17:30

Number of cases stands at 61
 

The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ disease outbreak show that there are now 24 confirmed cases and 37 suspected cases.

As at 12pm today, of those cases being treated in hospital, 12 were in intensive care and 28 are on general wards.

A total of 13 cases are being treated in the community, five have been discharged from hospital and one person has sadly died.

Two cases are being treated outwith the NHS Lothian area – one in Highland and one in the north of England. Both of these cases are being treated as part of the south west Edinburgh outbreak and have connections to the area.

People that are being admitted to hospital with symptoms are now generally speaking in a better state of health than has previously been the case. The ages of those affected now ranges between 19 and 88, with more males than females affected.

As of yesterday, NHS 24 had received 48 calls to the dedicated helpline. However, there was a 20 per cent increase in the number of calls to their regular number about Legionnaire’s disease.

The investigation into the source of the outbreak is continuing, with all 16 cooling towers in the affected area now having been inspected.

Those cooling towers which were considered to possibly require re-treating are now undergoing this process.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is a positive sign that those people being admitted to hospital are, generally speaking, less ill than had been the case at the start of the outbreak and we are seeing an increase in the numbers of people well enough to be treated in the community.

“NHS Lothian services are busy but coping and I would like to pay tribute to NHS staff who are coping extremely well with this situation.

“It remains the case that the risk to the general public remains low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24’s dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531.

“I want to stress that this bacteria is not passed on person to person or by drinking water.

“Investigations into the source of this outbreak, which are primarily led by the City of Edinburgh Council and the Health and Safety Executive and supported by Health Protection Scotland, are making good progress. I would hope that over the next few days this investigation will start to deliver answers about where the source of the outbreak might be. However, it is important to note that sometimes it is not possible to conclusively identify a source.

Update - 07/06/2012 AM

The Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing made a statement on the Legionella Outbreak at the Scottish Parliament this morning. You can watch it online at  

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/30912.aspx


Update - 06/06/2012

Resilience team report on outbreak latest

The latest reports from the Scottish Government Resilience Room (SGoRR) on the Edinburgh Legionnaires’ outbreak show that there are now 21 confirmed cases and 19 suspected cases.

One of the confirmed cases has died, two have been discharged from hospital and 12 are being treated in intensive care.

An emergency information leaflet will be delivered to all homes and businesses in affected areas tomorrow. GPs have also been provided with information on spotting the signs of infection.

A dedicated NHS helpline has been set up for anyone concerned and can be reached on 0800 0858 531.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said:

“The fact remains that the risk to the general public is low – however, due to the incubation period of the infection we are still expecting to see an increase in cases over the next couple of days.

“There is a now a dedicated advice line for everyone who is affected by the outbreak and households in affected  areas will receive a leaflet advising on the symptoms to look out for.

“A tremendous amount of work has been done to identify and deal with the source of infection and ongoing work is focusing on cooling towers in the area. All of the towers have been treated and the first phase of site inspections has now been completed by HSE.”

Dr Duncan McCormick Consultant in Public Health Medicine NHS Lothian said:

“Our advice is that there is a very low risk to the public and people should go about their daily business as usual.

“We remain confident - based on the available evidence - that the general source of the infection has been identified and that the treatment to the cooling towers will prove successful.

“We are expecting cases to continue to emerge over the next few days.

“I would like to assure the public that the drinking water is completely safe – the virus is not passed on by drinking water or from person to person transmission.

"If anyone has any concerns we would advise them to consult their GP or the NHS 24 dedicated helpline.”


Update - 05/06/2012 19:36

NHS Lothian is now investigating 17 confirmed cases and 15 suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

One patient, a man in his 50s with under lying health conditions, has died while being treated at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Thirteen men and two women aged between 33 and 74 are in a critical condition with the disease and are being treated in intensive care in hospitals in Lothian. One man has recovered and has been discharged.

Although unconfirmed, 15 other cases, ten men and five women are also being investigated. All of these patients are being treated in hospitals in Lothian.

The majority of the confirmed cases are linked geographically to the Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton areas of Edinburgh. Investigations into the other cases and possible links with the area are on-going.

The source of the outbreak continues to be investigated by officials from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Environmental Health Service and Scientific Service and the Health and Safety Executive.

Industrial cooling towers have been identified as a potential source of the infection and the cooling systems at four facilities in the area have been subject to an additional chemical treatment. Further inspections of these facilities will be carried out by the Environmental Health Service and the Health and Safety Executive over the coming days to ensure control measures continue to be effective.

Samples have been taken from these four facilities but, legionella is a difficult bacteria to culture and it may take up to ten days before results of the samples are available.

Other possible sources are not being ruled out.

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said:

“I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient that died.
“Investigations into the possible source of this outbreak are on-going. Meanwhile, medical staff have been actively identifying possible cases to allow us to ascertain the full extent of this outbreak.
“I would like to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that Legionnaire’s 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.”

The first case was identified on Monday 28 May. The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can begin anytime from between 2-14 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Note to Editors:

  • Forming a Incident Management Group is a standard public health process.
  • Legionella bacteria sometimes find their way into artificial water supply systems, such as air conditioning systems, hot water services, and cooling towers. Given the right conditions, legionella bacteria can contaminate these water systems.
  • Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. However, the condition is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. It cannot be contracted through drinking water.
  • There are strict regulations regarding the maintenance and control of water supply systems, such as either keeping the water cooled below 20C (68F), or heated above 60C (140F), in order to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Symptoms usually begin with an initial phase lasting 1-2 days, in which you experience mild headaches and muscle pain. This is followed by the onset of more severe symptoms including, high fever, usually a temperature of 40C (104F) or above, more severe muscle pain and chills.

Once the bacteria begin to infect your lungs, you may also experience a persistent cough, which is usually dry at first but as the infection develops you may start coughing up mucus or possibly blood,  shortness of breath and chest pains.

About 30% of people with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and
loss of appetite.

About half of those with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience changes to their mental state, such as confusion.

 


 

Update - 05/06/2012 13:50

NHS Lothian is investigating seven confirmed cases and 13 suspected cases of Legionnaire’s disease in the South West Edinburgh area.

Six men aged between 39 and 65 are in a critical condition with the disease and are being treated in intensive care in hospitals in Lothian. One man has recovered and has been discharged.

Although unconfirmed, 13 other cases are also being investigated.

All seven confirmed cases are linked geographically to the Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton areas of Edinburgh.

The source of the outbreak continues to be investigated by officials from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Environmental Health Department and the Health and Safety Executive.

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said:

“Investigations into the possible source of this outbreak are on-going. Meanwhile, medical staff have been actively identifying possible cases to allow us to ascertain the full extent of this outbreak.
“I would like to reassure the public that household water supplies are safe and that Legionnaire’s 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.”

The first case was identified on Monday 28 May. The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can begin anytime from between 2-14 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Note to Editors:

  • Forming a Incident Management Group is a standard public health process.
  • Legionella bacteria sometimes find their way into artificial water supply systems, such as air conditioning systems, hot water services, and cooling towers. Given the right conditions, legionella bacteria can contaminate these water systems.
  • Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. However, the condition is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. It cannot be contracted through drinking water.
  • There are strict regulations regarding the maintenance and control of water supply systems, such as either keeping the water cooled below 20C (68F), or heated above 60C (140F), in order to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • ​​Symptoms usually begin with an initial phase lasting 1-2 days, in which you experience mild headaches and muscle pain. This is followed by the onset of more severe symptoms including, high fever, usually a temperature of 40C (104F) or above, more severe muscle pain and chills.

Once the bacteria begin to infect your lungs, you may also experience a persistent cough, which is usually dry at first but as the infection develops you may start coughing up mucus or possibly blood,  shortness of breath and chest pains.

About 30% of people with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite.

About half of those with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience changes to their mental state, such as confusion.

 


 

Update - 04/06/2012

NHS Lothian is investigating six confirmed cases and four suspected cases of Legionnaires disease in the South West Edinburgh area.

Six men aged between 39 and 65 are being treated in hospitals in Lothian with the disease. Five of the men are in intensive care units while the one is in High Dependency.

Although unconfirmed, four other cases - two men and two women aged between 48 and 88 - are also being investigated.

All ten cases are linked geographically to the Dalry, Gorgie and Saughton areas of Edinburgh.

The source of the outbreak continues to be investigated by officials from the City of Edinburgh Council’s Environmental Health Department and the Health and Safety Executive.

Industrial cooling towers have been identified as a potential source and samples have been taken from four facilities in the South West of Edinburgh. Those responsible for maintenance at these locations have been advised to carry out additional chemical treatment to the water in the cooling systems as a precautionary measure. Other possible sources are not being ruled out.

As legionella is a difficult bacteria to culture, it may take up to 10 days before results of the samples are available.

Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said:

“Investigations into the possible source of this outbreak are on-going and we continue to urge anyone who develops symptoms of Legionnaires disease to contact NHS 24 or go to their GP.”

The first case was identified on Monday 28 May. The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease can begin anytime from between 2-14 days after exposure to the bacteria.

Note to Editors:

  • Forming a Incident Management Group is a standard public health process.
  • Some GP surgeries in Lothian will be closed on Tuesday 5 June for the Jubilee Holiday.
  • Legionella bacteria sometimes find their way into artificial water supply systems, such as air conditioning systems, hot and cold water services, and cooling towers. Given the right conditions, legionella bacteria can rapidly spread, contaminating these water systems.
  • Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water. However, the condition is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person.
  • There are strict regulations regarding the maintenance and control of water supply systems, such as either keeping the water cooled below 20C (68F), or heated above 60C (140F), in order to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • Symptoms usually begin with an initial phase lasting 1-2 days, in which you experience mild headaches and muscle pain. This is followed by the onset of more severe symptoms including, high fever, usually a temperature of 40C (104F) or above, more severe muscle pain and chills.
  • Once the bacteria begin to infect your lungs, you may also experience a persistent cough, which is usually dry at first but as the infection develops you may start coughing up mucus or possibly blood, shortness of breath and chest pains.
  • About 30% of people with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite.
  • About half of those with Legionnaires’ disease will also experience changes to their mental state, such as confusion.

Ends


03/06/2012 20:20

NHS Lothian is investigating four confirmed cases and four suspected cases of Legionnaires disease in the South West Edinburgh area.

Four men aged 39, 48, 60 and 63 are being treated in hospitals in Lothian with the disease. Three of the men are in intensive care units while the fourth is in High Dependency. Although unconfirmed, four other cases – a woman, aged 49, a woman aged 49, a man, aged 88 and a man, aged 63 are also being investigated.

The source of the outbreak is being investigated by officials from the City of Edinburgh Council’s  Environmental Health Department and the Health and Safety Executive who are concentrating on the South West Edinburgh area. Steps are being taken to treat cooling towers in the area as a precaution until the source is located.

Dona Milne, Acting Director of Public Health and Health Policy of NHS Lothian said:

“We have four confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease which all seem to come from the same point source in the South West of Edinburgh.

“Anybody who develops symptoms of Legionnaires disease should contact NHS 24 immediately or go to their GP.

“The safety of the public is our number one priority and we would urge people to look out for the symptoms of this disease.”

The dates in question are from 14 May until today.

All GP surgeries in Lothian are open on Monday 4 June but some will be closed on Tuesday 5 June for the Jubilee Holiday.

​​Ends​​​​​​​​​​​​

18/07/2012