Two more Legionella patients turned up in the Evergem region, nearby Ghent, reported the Agency for Care and Health. The total number of confirmed patients is now 29. The last reported patient fell ill on 2 May, but was only recently tested for the Legionella bacteria. The man’s condition is currently stable and he is staying at home.
The 28th patient fell ill on 17 May and has been admitted to the intensive care unit, but is not in critical condition. Currently, 11 patients are staying at home and 18 are in the hospital, four of whom are in intensive care, but not in critical condition.
Recently, two people died in the hospital after contracting the Legionella infection.
The Care and Health Agency took samples in five different companies with cooling towers in the Ghent canal zone. The results are expected around 3 June, but the companies have carried out disinfections in the meantime.
Legionella is a bacterial infection which takes various forms, the most common being Legionella pneumophila, which has an effect like pneumonia. The illness is commonly referred to as Legionnaires’ Disease.
Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, headache and muscle pain, and can show up anywhere from two to ten days after exposure. The bacterium occurs in fresh water and can be breathed in from water mist from the likes of cooling towers, air conditioning and swimming pools. Most people remain unaffected, but those in poor health are more likely to contract the disease – the elderly, smokers, people with a history of lung disease or a weak immune system. The disease cannot be passed from person to person.