Second legionella death in East Flemish outbreak

A second patient has died as a result of the legionella outbreak centred on the town of Evergem, near the port of Ghent in East Flanders.  The death of the 70-year-old local man is fuelling concerns among local residents.

Evergem Mayor Joeri De Martelaere says local residents really want answers: "We know what isn't the cause, but not what is.  Drinking tap water, taking a shower aren't dangerous."

 So far 17 people have come down with legionella, an airborne bacteria.  A first victim died at Ghent University hospital on Monday. A second death has now occurred.  This time at the Academic Hospital Saint Lucas.  The victims had reduced resistance that confirms the view that elderly and vulnerable people are most at risk.

 Fresh results from tests of suspected sources are eagerly awaited next Monday. 

Six patients have already been allowed home.  Nine are still in hospital.  Seven people are convalescing.  Two are still in intensive care.

 Legionella grows in warm water and is transmitted via vapour or steam.  You can't come down with legionella by drinking water, but you can by breathing in contaminated water droplets.  Legionella can't be passed on human to human.

 Symptoms include a dry cough, fever and headache and should be taken to your GP!