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Monday 24 October 2016 Instagram
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Extent of Legionnaires’ outbreak ‘unknown’

Extent of Legionnaires’ outbreak ‘unknown’

As the number of confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Edinburgh continues to rise, the Scottish government admits that the extent of the outbreak is not yet known.

Twenty four people have so far been confirmed to have been affected by the illness, and one person has died.

With the incubation period of the disease between five days to two weeks from the time of initial exposure, the true scale of the situation is not expected to be known until next week.

Nicola Sturgeon, Health Secretary for Scotland, told MSPs that although efforts were ongoing to trace the source of the outbreak, it seems likely that it has originated from a source south west of Edinburgh.

She also warned healthcare providers and the public to be vigilant and act quickly when faced with symptoms, which include headache, muscle pain, chills and fever.

After a couple of days, symptoms may progress to a cough, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and confusion.

"The incubation period for Legionnaires' disease can be up to two weeks although it will more normally be in the region five or six days,” said Sturgeon.

"It is therefore vital that we ensure that the public are aware of the symptoms, and that the NHS is primed to quickly identify, diagnose and treat cases.

"In most cases, the disease is caused by the inhalation of water containing the bacteria and common sources can be showers, air conditioning, cooling towers, or humidifiers."

Legionnaires’ disease, despite being highly contagious, cannot be spread from person to person and is contracted as a direct result of contact with legionella bacteria from an affected source.

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