Fifth case of disease, but source a mystery
A FIFTH case of potentially fatal Legionnaires' disease has been reported in Carmarthen.
The new case comes nearly a month after the first three — but there is still no suggestion as to where the source lies.
The outbreak is being investigated by Public Health Wales and Carmarthenshire Council's environmental health department, who are continuing to look for, and take samples from, potential sources.
The Health and Safety Executive is also involved in the investigation.
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The five cases all have links to Carmarthen and have all required hospital treatment as a result of their illness.
The first three people found to have the disease were discharged from hospital on the same day as their diagnosis, in September.
A fourth person was diagnosed with Legionnaires' the following week. It is unclear what the current condition of the fifth patient is.
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.
Public Health Wales also confirmed that there is 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 to advise them and their patients to be alert to the symptoms of Legionnaires' disease, which include breathlessness, chest pain and a dry cough.
Fever, muscle aches and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea are also symptoms of the disease, which can lead to pneumonia and can be fatal.
Anyone who lives or works in the Carmarthen area and has symptoms suggestive of Legionnaires' disease is advised to contact their GP or seek medical advice.
Public Health Wales consultant in communicable disease control, Dr Mac Walapu, said enquiries were ongoing to "gain better understanding" of the movements of those diagnosed in the days before they became ill in a bid to identify the source.
Advice and information is available on the Public Health Wales website.