Legionnaires Disease outbreak in Majorca: Briton dies and 13 fall sick with disease

They also said another 13 of the 19 people now known to have been affected so far in the unresolved outbreak were also holidaymakers from the UK.

Regional health authority boss Maria Ramos said one British tourist, a man aged 61, was still being treated at Son Espases Hospital in the island capital Majorca, the hospital where a 70-year-old British man died last Wednesday.

The rest of the Britons, aged from 46 to 87 and back in the UK after the end of their holidays, are understood to have been given the all-clear or are recovering from their illness, although Mrs Ramos said she was unaware of the evolution of five of the British nationals affected.

Health chiefs in Majorca are now working on trying to locate the source of the outbreak in the Brit-popular resort of Palmanova next to the brash party resort of Magaluf with the help of a specialist lab in Madrid.

Positive samples were detected at an unnamed hotel in Palmanova where nine of those affected were staying. The hotel has now closed after its water supply was shut down.

But Mrs Ramos said the holidaymakers diagnosed with Legionnaires’ had been staying at a total of seven hotels in the resort, making it unlikely the hotel with the most number of people affected was the source of the outbreak – or the sole source if it ended up being linked to the killer bug scare.

Since being informed of the first case on October 5, regional health authorities acting in conjunction with local police have reacted by closing beach showers and a water fountain in Palmanova as well as water sprinklers and checking to make sure restaurants are not using water mist systems some were employing last month.

The number of people affected by the outbreak rose from 18 to 19 overnight with the notification of a new case.

The elderly Briton who died in hospital, whose name has not been disclosed, was particularly vulnerable because he suffered from several other pre-existing health conditions including diabetes, leukaemia and coronary heart disease.

Mrs Ramos, who is coordinating the local response to the outbreak, said: “All of the people affected apart from one who is a hotel worker, are tourists.

“That makes us think that the source of infection is something that’s related to tourist activity.

“The beach showers to name one of the things we’ve looked at had a good level of chlorination in them and a good temperature but they were a little dirty which is why we closed them immediately.”

She added: “We have found positive samples of Legionella bacteria in the hotel where most of the affected people were staying which is why we took the decision to shut down the water supply.

“But what we cannot say for the moment 100 per cent is that those people fell ill because of the Legionella bacteria in that hotel.

“The cases we’re being informed about are from the end of September and beginning of October.

“We were informed about the first case on October 5 and began to act immediately so we hope there won’t be many more cases.

“There could be one or two more cases that we’re notified about but we believe we’ve taken enough preventative steps to ensure there aren’t a rash of new notifications.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria.

Initial symptoms usually include flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle pain and fever, with symptoms of pneumonia once bacteria begin to infect the lungs.

The disease, which isn’t contagious and can’t be spread directly from person to person, is usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water.

It can be particularly serious in people with pre-existing health conditions.

Most deaths occur in people who are 70 or older.

The period of incubation is 14 days so the numbers of those affected may rise.

Three British pensioners aged 73, 76 and 78 died from the disease following an outbreak at the four-star AR Diamante Beach hotel in the Costa Blanca resort of Calpe in 2012.

They were among more than a dozen pensioners struck down with the killer bug while on a Saga holiday.

Ten of the 19 people known so far to have been affected in the latest Legionnaires’ outbreak are women, unusual because the bug normally affects predominantly men.

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