Spain Fears Legionaire's Disease Epidemic in City : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


MADRID (Reuters) - More than 100 people are feared to have contracted Legionnaire's disease in a city in southeastern Spain in an outbreak which may already have reached epidemic proportions, officials said on Sunday.

Of 117 people admitted to hospitals in the city of Murcia with breathing difficulties since Friday, 10 have so far tested positive for the potentially lethal bacterial disease, said an official with the regional government's health department.

The other cases are still being analyzed, she told Reuters.

The head of the department, Francisco Marques, told a news conference the number of cases suggested Murcia was facing an epidemic rather than just an outbreak.

Inspectors are testing eight air-conditioning towers in the area as possible sources of infection, Marques said in comments reported by local news media.

Most of the people hospitalized are over 50, state radio said.

Legionnaire's disease, which has symptoms similar to pneumonia, is caused by bacteria carried on water vapor and found in air-conditioning and drinking water systems. Tests on public drinking water in Murcia have not found the bacteria, state radio said.

-- Rachel Gibson (, July 09, 2001

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