Page last updated at 20:45 GMT, Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Legionnaires' case hits hospital

Legionnaires' disease
Investigations into the cause of the infection are under way

An investigation is under way after a patient at a Scottish hospital contracted Legionnaires' disease.

The resident at a Lanarkshire hospital for the mentally ill was diagnosed with the infection on Monday.

The patient at Hartwoodhill, in Shotts, is being treated at Wishaw General Hospital, where doctors described their condition as "critical but stable".

NHS Lanarkshire said steps were taken to minimise the risk to Hartwoodhill's 63 patients and 170 staff.

The agent that causes Legionnaires' is a bacterium called Legionella pneumophilia.

People catch the disease by inhaling water vapour which contains the bacteria.

Symptoms of the illness include muscle aches, tiredness and a fever. It is not passed from person to person.

NHS Lanarkshire consultant Dr David Cromie said: "We have taken prompt action to minimise the risk to patients and staff at the hospital and are following all the guidance provided by the Health and Safety Commission.

"An immediate step includes heat and chlorine treatment of the water system which is known to remove Legionella."

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