Shock after legionnaires’ makes mum go ‘doolally’

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RELATIVES of a woman who has just been hospitalised with legionnaires’ disease have warned of the need to remain vigilant for new cases as the number of affected patients rose again.

Helen Booth, 59, from Clovenstone, became ill on Sunday, but only attended hospital two days later after family members realised she wasn’t suffering from a regular virus.

The mother-of-three, who works as a receptionist in the Gorgie area – the suspected source of the outbreak – is now being treated with intravenous antibiotics in an isolation ward at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The relative, who asked not to be named, told the News: “At first we thought it was just a cold or a virus. Then we realised something was badly wrong – she went a bit doolally.

“It’s been a big shock. We thought it seemed to be coming to an end. It is scary. They need to start giving people proper information.”

The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 47, with a further 46 suspected.

Another relative of Ms Booth said: “It’s her temperature they’re worried about, it’s quite high. I think the message recently has been that it’s fine. My worry is that people think they’ve just got a virus and might not get medical attention quick enough.”

Despite the new cases, experts insist that they believe the outbreak is under control.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that the new patients had been ill for “a period of time”, and that expert advice remains that the infection control measures had been effective.

The latest figures released by the Scottish Government showed that two legionnaires’ patients remained in intensive care with 16 on general wards.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “These numbers continue to be in line with expectations and it is encouraging to see a further drop in cases in intensive care. However we must remember that these people remain critically ill.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Chair of the Incident Management Team, said: “The number of confirmed cases of legionnaires’ disease in Lothian has risen by three in the last 24 hours. One of the suspected cases has now been confirmed.

“The other two new cases tie in with the incubation period and is in line with out expectation as the outbreak tails off.”