More people with Legionella infections in hospital in Ghent-area
Monday, 13 May 2019
At least four more people in Evergem, close to Ghent, were taken to the hospital with a Legionella infection, after Friday already saw 11 people in the hospital. Several people are in intensive care. Legionella is a pathogenic group of bacteria that leads to Legionnaires’ disease. It is still not clear where the infection came from, but the Agency for Care and Health has taken samples of the water in the port of Ghent.
“Over the weekend, several extra people were admitted to the hospital with symptoms of a Legionella infection. We will be meeting with the doctors and we hope to be able to provide more information later today,” said Joris Moonens of the Agency to VRT NWS.
In the meantime, at least 15 people from the Evergem region have been infected in recent weeks. The first infections date back to April but were only announced last week. Additional infections may still be discovered in the next days, as it sometimes takes up to 19 days for the symptoms -that strongly resemble the flu- to occur.
The legionella bacteria develops primarily in warm, stagnant water, which makes the water cooling towers and installations in Ghent the ideal breeding ground for the bacteria.
The Agency for Care and Health took 15 different samples in the area over the last days, primarily around the cooling installations. The test results are not known yet.