Investigation launched after worker comes down with Legionnaires’ disease

An investigation has been launched by four health authorities to discover the source of bacteria that left a Shetland worker in hospital with Legionnaires’ disease.

The patient, who lives in Lanarkshire, became ill in Shetland after staying a night in Aberdeen on the way north to work and is now being treated in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

NHS Lanarkshire is working with North Lanarkshire Council, NHS Grampian, NHS Shetland and Health Protection Scotland to investigate the possible source of the infection. Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by inhalation of infected water droplets.

Dr David Cromie, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are currently carrying out an investigation to identify the source of the Legionella infection.

“Often with single cases of Legionella, it can be difficult to positively identify the source of the bacteria, however we are currently investigating a number of possible sources, although to date no source of infection has been identified.

“You cannot catch Legionnaires’ disease from an infected person as it does not spread from person to person. Most people exposed to Legionella do not become ill.

“People catch Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the bacteria. You cannot catch Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water.”


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