Shock as second man dies of Legionnaires’ disease

The North British Distillery was shut down. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The North British Distillery was shut down. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A SECOND man has died from Legionnaires’ disease in the Capital, as ten people remain in intensive care.

The man, who has not been named, died yesterday evening at the Royal Infirmary.

It is reported that he was in his 40s and from Gorgie, and was one of the first people to be admitted to the hospital after the outbreak started. NHS Lothian said he had significant pre-existing health conditions.

His death comes after that of construction worker Robert Air, 56, on June 5.

The latest victim was one of the 41 confirmed cases in the outbreak. There are another 48 suspected cases.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said last night: “My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the patient who passed away in Edinburgh tonight in a case linked to the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the city. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.

“Despite this sad and tragic development, it remains the case that we believe the outbreak to have peaked.

“We continue to monitor the situation carefully and advise anyone with any concerns to contact the special NHS 24 helpline on 08000 85 85 31.”

Dr Duncan McCormick, chairman of the incident management team, added: “Whilst we realised that further deaths were a possibility this additional death is extremely sad and I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of the patient.”

Efforts continue to establish the source of the outbreak. The Health and Safety Executive, NHS Lothian and city council are still awaiting the results of tests carried out on cooling towers at the start of the outbreak. But they have warned that they may never find out conclusively where the disease came from.

The HSE has served improvement notices on two of the firms to have been examined, Macfarlan Smith and North British Distillery, both in Wheatfield Road, Gorgie.

It ordered thorough cleaning of one of Macfarlan Smith’s cooling towers.

North British Distillery was ordered to devise an effective biocide control programme for one cooling tower.