Outbreak of Legionella in South Wales

17th September 2010

This latest outbreak is still being investigated by the authorities and more people are showing symptoms.

The outbreak is being investigated by Public Health Wales, the Health and Safety Executive and environmental health officers from seven local councils. Information has been given to GPs advising them what to do if patients have symptoms.

The disease, caused by the Legionella bacterium, begins with flu-like symptoms and can lead to pneumonia.

There were 24 confirmed cases in Wales in 2009, most of which were sporadic. An average of 13 cases are seen in Wales every year.

Dr Gwen Lowe, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health Wales, said: "Legionnaires' disease is a rare but potentially life threatening illness. "Most of the cases of Legionnaires' disease that are notified to us are isolated cases, but outbreaks can occur. "People become infected when they inhale Legionella bacteria which are spread through the air in the form of a fine mist or droplets from a contaminated water source."