Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 11:48 UK

Tesco probes Legionnaires' case

Legionella bacteria
The infection is caused by bacteria called Legionella pneumophila

Supermarket giant Tesco has reassured customers after a member of staff at its Wrexham store was signed off sick with Legionnaires' disease.

The source of the illness is being investigated, but a spokesman for the Tesco Extra store said it was an isolated case.

The bacteria is often carried in dirty water or air conditioning and can be fatal.

Wrexham Council said it was also investigating the source of illness.

Tesco said no other member of staff or customers had been affected and it was not known how the female member of staff contracted the illness.

She has been signed off work for two weeks.

A store spokesman said: "We would like to reassure customers and staff that this is an isolated case which we are taking very seriously and investigating fully."

The Health and Safety Executive's website describes the illness as a "potentially fatal form of pneumonia which can affect anybody, but which principally affects those who are susceptible because of age, illness, immunosuppression, smoking etc.

"It is caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila and related bacteria that can be found naturally in environmental water sources such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs, usually in low numbers.

"As they are commonly found in environmental sources they may also be found in purpose built water systems such as cooling towers, evaporative condensers and whirlpool spas. "

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