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Legionnaires’ Hits Scotland

Posted on June 14, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse


In yet another outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease, one person has died and there are 21 confirmed and 19 suspicious cases already reported, with more expected in coming days.

Robert Air, a 56-year-old father of two, became symptomatic on a Thursday and died the following Tuesday, mere hours after being admitted to the hospital. Many of the patients currently being treated were seen by doctors and sent home assuming they had the flu. Some of those patients are now in critical condition with pneumonia.

Public health officials in Edinburgh do not have a definitive answer to where the bacteria is lurking. Some of the patients had attended the Scottish Cup final soccer game but others had not. All of the patients, however, had been in southwest Edinburgh and the most likely culprit seems to be some poorly maintained cooling towers in that area.

Scotland’s leading bacteriologist, Professor Hugh Pennington, has stated, “This is not an act of God, this is a failure of maintenance by someone and simply should not happen.” Professor Pennington feels very strongly that outbreaks like these are easily avoided through proper maintenance of water systems and we agree.

Since it can take up to 2 weeks for Legionnaires’ to become symptomatic, Scottish officials are expecting more cases to appear in the coming days. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ include

Symptoms include mild headaches and muscle pain, which can develop into high fever, a persistent cough and sometimes vomiting, diarrhoea and confusion. Sadly, these symptoms can easily be misdiagnosed before an outbreak is confirmed.

Read more on our blog about Legionnaires’ Disease and a recent outbreak in New Zealand. You can also read about cleaning cooling towers and why it is important.

If your HVAC system or water system is in need of maintenance, don’t take any chances with the bacteria that cause this potentially fatal illness. In California, contact AirTek and we will make sure that no facility of yours will ever be the source of a Legionnaires’ outbreak by performing a professional pasteurization of your entire system quickly with our highly-trained team.

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek Indoor Air Solutions and our affiliate Alliance Environmental Group. We welcome your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on environmental services like mold remediation, lead removal and pest control including bed bugs, Like us at Alliance Environmental on Facebook or follow Alliance on Twitter!

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