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Thursday, January 14, 1999 Published at 14:17 GMT


Legionnaires' claims second life

Two patients have died in hospital on Legionnaire's disease

A second person has died of Legionnaires' disease at a South Wales hospital.

A 59-year-old woman died at the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil a week after being admitted.

She had been in critical condition. The woman was admitted days after the death of 36-year-old taxi driver Gary Lewis.

He had been on a life support machine for 17 days before he died.

Health officials are trying to find out if there is a link between the two cases.

They are also seeking to find out the source of the infection.

Inhaling mist

Legionnaires' disease, which is fatal in between 5% and 15% of cases, is most often contracted by inhaling mist from water sources such as whirlpool baths, showers, and cooling towers that are contaminated with Legionella pnuemophila bacteria, or other bacteria in the family Legionellaceae.

It usually begins with a headache, pain in the muscles and a general feeling of being unwell.

These symptoms are followed by high fever and shaking chills. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may occur.

It can lead to difficulty with breathing, pneumonia and mental confusion.

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