Second man dies from legionnaires’ disease

The man is thought to be from the Gorgie area of south west Edinburgh which has been worst affected by the outbreak

A second man has died in the legionnaires disease outbreak in Edinburgh, after falling ill at an early stage of the outbreak earlier this month.

The man is thought to be in his 40s and from the Gorgie area of south west Edinburgh which has been worst affected by the outbreak. He had “significant pre-existing underlying health conditions”, the Scottish government said.

Last week, a builder called Robert Air, 56, was the first fatality in what is now the second worst outbreak of legionnaires in the UK in recent decades. Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health secretary, had warned that further deaths were possible.

Speaking as she confirmed the second death, 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.”

The second death came after the number of fresh confirmed and suspected casualties in the outbreak had peaked and began to fall markedly.

On Thursday, the Scottish government had said there were no new cases, leaving the number of confirmed patients and cases at 41, with a new suspected cases taking that total to 48.

The number in hospital had also fallen, with 11 people in intensive care and 18 staying on general wards. There were 18 people being treated at home with 34 discharged from hospital entirely since the outbreak started two weeks ago.

Speaking after the death was confirmed, Dr Duncan McCormick, chair of the NHS Lothian’s incident management team, 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.”

“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.”

In the last week, two of the four factories in south-west Edinburgh suspected as possible sources of the outbreak, the North British Distillery Company and then Mafarlan Smith, a pharmaceuticals firm, shut down their cooling towers and were ordered by the Health and Safety Executive to give them a deep clean.

It is now the UK’s worst outbreak since seven people were killed and 180 cases reported in Barrow-in-Furness in 2002. Two people were killed and 22 infected in an outbreak in South Wales in 2010. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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