First victim of East Flemish legionella outbreak getting better

The first person to become ill in the current legionella outbreak in East Flanders is now getting better. However, lorry driver Tim Dessein from Nazareth in East Flanders has told VRT Radio 2 that the slightest physical exertion makes him exhausted. Mr Dessein (31) became ill after having unloaded his truck at a company in the Port of Ghent. Luckily he has survived what for some can be a fatal illness. 

Two days after making the delivery at the port his wife took him to the A&E department of Oudenaarde Hospital.

“There they took x-rays of my lungs and saw that there were marks on them. They suspected legionella straight away. Shortly afterwards my condition worsened and I was kept in a coma for a total of 12 days.” The bacteria had taken such a hold that Mr Dessein’s lungs stopped working all together for two days. “The lung machine took over for me. I am also happy that Oudenaarde Hospital took the decission to transfer me to Ghent University Hospital in time, otherwise I wouldn’t be here now ”, Mr Dessein said.    

Tim Dessein was so weak that he also became infected with the streptococcus bacteria and had to take yet another course of anti-biotics. During the first weeks after he woke from his coma he was unable to speak or walk. Now Tim is back home. However, the infection has really worn him out. “After the slightest exertion I become exhausted”, he told VRT Radio 2. He added that he hopes that the source of the legionella infection will be identified soon.