15 people treated for legionnaires’ disease in Stoke-on-Trent outbreak

Health officials try to identify source of disease as number of cases continue to rise, with two in a critical condition

A total of 15 people are being treated in hospital after an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in Staffordshire.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said all of those affected in Stoke-on-Trent were aged between their late 40s and mid-70s.

The number of confirmed cases has been steadily rising since news of the outbreak on Tuesday.

Two of the patients are in a critical condition and are being treated in separate hospitals.

A spokesman for University Hospital of North Staffordshire said: “The trust is currently treating 14 patients confirmed with legionnaires’ disease. Thirteen patients are in a stable or improving condition; one person is in a critical condition.”

A spokesman for Glenfield hospital, Leicester, said: “We are treating a patient transferred from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, confirmed with legionnaires’ disease, who is in a critical but stable condition.”

Public and environmental health experts from the HPA, the Health and Safety Executive, the NHS in Stoke and Stoke-on-Trent city council are trying to identify and investigate possible sources of the outbreak.

Prof Harsh Duggal, director of the Health Protection Agency’s health protection unit in Stafford, said: “Our investigation into possible sources continues.

“We have sampled and disinfected potential sources of exposure but people can develop symptoms up to two weeks after being exposed to legionella so we are not surprised by these new cases.

“We continue to map the outbreak and work with our partners to pinpoint possible sources, using the information we have gathered.”

Anyone feeling unwell with any of the possible signs is advised to see their doctor, ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647, or visit www.nhs.uk. The HPA stressed that there was no need for anyone who was well or only mildly unwell to see their doctor or to have any tests.

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