Suspected Legionnaires’ disease man in hospital

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HEALTH chiefs have moved to reassure residents after it was confirmed a Hartlepool man is being treated in hospital for suspected Legionnaires’ disease.

No details have been released about the identity of the man.

Legionnaires’ disease is a rare form of pneumonia caused when a person breathes in air that contains legionella bacteria in droplets of water.

Health chiefs say contaminated water, especially from heating, air conditioning or water supply systems, transmits the disease.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is now working with environmental health officers from Hartlepool Borough Council to find the potential source of the infection.

Officials have moved to reassure people and stressed the disease, which can only be contacted from the source of the contaminated water, cannot be spread from person to person.

A HPA Statement said: “The Health Protection Agency can confirm it has received a report of a suspected case of Legionnaires’ disease in a Hartlepool resident.

“The case is currently in hospital receiving treatment.”

Dr Peter Acheson, of the HPA in the North-East, said the agency is working closely with council officials in a bid to locate the source.

Dr Acheson said: “Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon form of pneumonia caused when a person breathes in air that contains legionella bacteria in droplets of water.

“These bacteria live naturally in environmental water sources but if they get into water systems in buildings they can cause a risk to humans through air conditioning systems, showers and spa pools.

“Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person and can only be contracted from the source of the contaminated water.

“We are working with Hartlepool Borough Council environmental health colleagues to investigate a potential source of infection in this case.”