One person has died from legionella Evergem, near Ghent, after health authorities declared an outbreak of the bacteria in the region which accelerated at the weekend.
The patient died in Ghent’s University Hospital on Monday evening, The Flanders Agency for Care and Health announced in a statement.
The agency has currently identified at least 16 cases after it was reported that eleven infected people had been admitted to the hospital late last week.
The most recently reported cases have prompted authorities to warn that the source of the infection, which has not yet been identified, may still be active.
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Seven out of the 16 cases originated in Evergem or in bordering towns, leading authorities to say that there are strong indications that the source of the infection is in Evergem’s vicinity.
The legionella bacteria develops primarily in warm and stagnant water and can lead to Legionnares’ disease or Pontiac fever.
The Flanders Agency for Care and Health said in a statement that they are examining water samples from 17 companies in order to identify the source of contamination.
A spokesperson for the agency said that legionella symptoms can take up to 17 days to appear, but that most people manifested symptoms within ten days.
The Brussels Times