‘No stone left unturned’ in legionnaires’ investigation

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FIRST Minister Alex Salmond has pledged to leave “no stone unturned” in the investigation into Edinburgh’s legionnaires’ outbreak.

Mr Salmond made the promise after calls were made to hold a public inquiry following two deaths from the disease in the Capital since last month.

A total of 95 people are thought to have contracted legionnaires’ disease since the outbreak began in May.

Investigations into the source centre on a cluster of cooling towers in Wheatfield Road, according to the team monitoring the outbreak.

During First Minister’s Questions yesterday, Labour MSP Sarah Boyack, who called for the inquiry into the matter, said lessons must be learned quickly.

She referred to the death of firefighter Ewan Williamson in the same part of the Capital three years ago.

“His family and fellow firefighters are still waiting for vital questions to be answered,” she said. “Can the First Minister promise that local communities will not have to wait that long this time and that we will get a proper inquiry and answers to the questions that are concerning the whole community?”

The First Minister moved to assure residents that everything would be done to identify what caused the outbreak. But he added that the timing of criminal investigations must take precedence over any wider inquiry.

“Thankfully, I can report there has been no new cases in the last couple of days,” he said.

“This is an immensely serious outbreak which has resulted in human tragedy. No stone will be left unturned.”

His comments came as it emerged there had been no increase in cases for third day in a row. The total number of confirmed cases remains at 48 and the total number of suspected cases is 47.

Health officials added that two more of the patients who were hospitalised as part of the outbreak had now been discharged from hospital.

Three patients still remain in intensive care however, while ten more are being treated on general wards.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is encouraging that the number of people affected by legionnaires’ has not increased for the past three days and that two people have been discharged from hospital.”