Fifth case of Legionnaires' disease emerges in Carmarthen
A fifth case of Legionnaires' disease has been found in Carmarthen.
Public Health Wales and Carmarthenshire County Council are investigating the case, which was reported in a Carmarthen resident.
The five cases all have links to Carmarthen and have all required hospital treatment as a result of their illness.
The council’s environmental health department continue to look for, and take samples from, potential sources of Legionnaires’ disease in the town.
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Dr Mac Walapu, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “We are continuing to make enquiries with the people who have been unwell to gain a better understanding of their movements in the days before they became ill in order to try and identify the source of the contaminated aerosols.
“It is important to note that Legionnaires' disease is very rare and most people who come into contact with the bacteria that cause infection will not become ill. People over the age of 50, particularly men and smokers, are most at risk.”
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be caught from another person and is contracted by breathing in droplets from contaminated water sources. There is no suspicion that the source is the drinking water supply to Carmarthen, and no link between this incident and reports of legionella bacteria in water samples taken from Llandrindod Hospital, Powys.
Water sources that can cause Legionnaires’ disease include anything that can create a fine mist of water droplets that can be inhaled, such as industrial cooling towers, air conditioning systems and water spas.
Information has been circulated to GPs and hospitals in the area to advise them to be alert to the symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease.
A Public Health Wales spokesman said anyone who lives or works in the Carmarthen area and has symptoms suggestive of Legionnaires’ disease is advised to contact their GP.
Symptoms include breathlessness, chest pain and a dry cough, as well as fever, muscle aches, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea.
More information about Legionnaires' disease is available from the Public Health Wales website at: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/44350