Warning over Legionnaires' disease after holidaymakers struck down by flu-like disease


Holidaymakers coming home from Majorca have been warned to look out for the symptoms of a serious lung infection.

At least 18 British travellers have been diagnosed with Legionnaire’s disease after returning from the western coast of the Spanish island this summer.

The first and most common symptoms may only appear weeks later and include headaches, muscle pain, fever, chills, tiredness and confusion.

But in rare cases the illness can prove fatal in otherwise healthy people, leading to organs failing to work properly or septic shock.

Most people who came down with the disease in 2015 needed hospital treatment.

Public Health England (PHE) has urged both recent and future travellers to Majorca to be aware of the symptoms.

A woman coughing.

The health watchdog has noted a spike in cases among Brits who stayed in a town popular with tourists called Palmanova.

Anyone can be affected, but people aged 50 and over, smokers, heavy drinkers and anyone with an underlying medical conditions or weakened immune system is at increased risk.

Sufferers catch the infection by breathing in contaminated water, which can be spread through air condition systems or spas, rather than being transmitted from person to person.

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Large buildings such as hotels, hospitals, museums and hospitals are particularly vulnerable to being contaminated.

There is no vaccine against the infection, but it can be fairly easily treated through antibiotics and around 90% of people make a full recovery after a few weeks.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, head of PHE’s Legionella and flu response team, said: “Since September, 18 British travellers who stayed in Palmanova have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease; those affected travelled to Palmanova from different parts of the UK.”

Visitors crowd the beach along the Ballermann stretch on July 26, 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Nick Phin, Deputy Director at PHE added: “The source is under investigation and the Spanish authorities are leading the response to this outbreak.

“We are advising people who have travelled or are planning to travel to Palmanova in Majorca to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease, which are initially flu-like.

“If you do experience symptoms, speak to your GP as soon as possible and inform them of your travel.”



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