First legionnaires’ and now I’ve got TB

Gordon Erasmuson. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Gordon Erasmuson. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A VICTIM of the Capital’s legionnaires’ disease crisis has said his life is still being “ruined” by the illness – months after the outbreak was declared over.

Gordon Erasmuson has now been struck down with tuberculosis after he became one of more than 100 confirmed or suspected legionnaires’ disease sufferers following the outbreak in the south-west of the city in May.

Mr Erasmuson believes that he has caught tuberculosis as a direct result of legionnaires’, which he says weakened his immune system to such an extent that he is now struggling to fight off infections.

He said: “After the legionnaires’ disease, I am vulnerable to getting stuff like this. It’s ruined my health and my life. I’ve been told the tuberculosis is infectious and to stay away from people – I feel like a prisoner in my own home.

“The doctors are reluctant to say it but they have admitted that legionnaires’ could have lowered my resistance to TB, but I don’t think you have to be Sherlock Holmes to work it out.

“Before this I had diabetes but I was on top of that. Everything since has shown a worsening situation with my chest and lungs. I’ve had more doctor appointments in the last six months than I’ve had in my entire life.”

Mr Erasmuson said he was warned he could be declared a public health risk after he stopped taking the antibiotics he was prescribed for tuberculosis – which has left him with a hole in one of his lungs – due to the extreme side effects they caused.

He is now back on the medication, after being told that health bosses could eventually obtain a court order to take him into hospital for quarantined treatment.

Mr Erasmuson added: “I think it’s ironic that people responsible for an outbreak which caused the deaths of three people have got away scot-free, but then they’re threatening to slap a court order on me.”

The 60-year-old former carpenter, who lives close to the suspected epicentre of the outbreak in Gorgie, has called for more to be done to establish the source of the legionella bacteria and for prosecutions to follow.

David Bell, a personal injury expert, has called for a public inquiry into the outbreak, as have leading microbiologist 
Professor Hugh Pennington and Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack.

Mr Bell said: “We’ve had a number of legionnaires’ victims who have complained about general health problems since the outbreak. They are more susceptible to general conditions and viruses due to their immune systems being weakened.

“Our clients want answers as soon as possible as to what happened in Edinburgh.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, an NHS Lothian consultant in public health medicine, said he could not comment on Mr Erasmuson’s case, but added: “Patients who have infectious tuberculosis are asked to take special antibiotics for two weeks and to self-isolate to reduce the risks of others being infected. If a patient is unable, or refuses, to adhere to treatment, they can, as a last resort, be isolated under public health legislation.”

The difficult second album

HE travelled to India in search of inspiration – only to discover that if he didn’t have bad luck, he wouldn’t have any luck at all.

Edinburgh-based musician Steve Adey was searching for ideas for his second album, but ended up being rocked by two life-threatening illnesses and a horror car crash.

Disaster struck on his trip last year when he caught the potentially fatal tropical disease Dengue Fever.

After recovery, he set off for a trekking trip in the Himalayas and promptly contracted Polycythemia, a condition brought on by altitude sickness.

After a lengthy stay in hospital Steve, 34, was finally back on the road to recovery – but the road only led to a head-on car crash in India.

“It happened just outside Mumbai,” he said. “It was quite a bad accident. We were in a 4x4 going down a hill. A truck full of soldiers was coming up the hill and for some reason our driver sped up and we hit the truck head-on. It was quite spectacular.”

Now Steve has finally put the finishing touches on his album, The Tower Of Silence, which is released next month.

He said: “I’m relieved that it’s done. I’m exhausted – it’s been such a difficult record to finish.”