Sheltered housing resident in Leith is latest Legionnaires’ victim

Donaldson Court in Leith. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Donaldson Court in Leith. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A SHELTERED housing complex in Leith has started a deep cleansing programme after one of its residents was confirmed as having legionnaires’ disease.

The elderly woman, a resident at the Donaldson Court sheltered housing complex, is one of 41 cases confirmed in the Capital so far.

The news emerged as the Labour Party called for a public inquiry into the outbreak, which has already claimed two lives.

The source of the disease has yet to be determined. Yesterday, the National Museum of Scotland became the latest company to be served an improvement notice.

Residents at Donaldson Court on Burlington Street were delivered notices yesterday from Bield Housing, which runs the complex, to inform them of the situation and reassure them that precautions were being taken.

It is understood the woman has links to Gorgie and her case is part of the wider outbreak.

Her condition is not thought to be serious and she is being treated by her GP at home, rather than in the hospital.

Bield said it would be carrying out a two-stage cleansing process as a “precaution”.

A Bield spokesman said: “Public health authorities investigating the current Lothian legionella outbreak are aware of the case and we will be looking to co-operate fully with them.

“While there is no reason at all to suspect that the legionella bacteria is present at Donaldson Court, we have taken the precautionary measure of implementing a programme of rigorous additional cleansing.”

One resident at the complex, who asked not to be named, said: “It is concerning – the lady has been in her room for two weeks and when we got this notice we realised what was wrong.

“They say there is nothing to worry about, but it’s obviously quite serious if they are going to all this trouble.”

The latest updates on the outbreak yesterday showed there were no new cases, while the total number of suspected cases remains at 48.

The total number of cases is 89, with nine people still in intensive care and 17 on general wards, while 18 cases are being treated in the community.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jackie Baillie MSP, said: “Whilst there appears to be a slight drop off in the number of people being diagnosed we have still to identify the source of the outbreak.

“Once the outbreak has been contained, I would urge the Scottish Government to agree to a public inquiry. [It] will ensure we learn lessons and try to prevent this happening again.”

The Health and Safety Executive and city council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak, and yesterday the council served an improvement notice on the National Museum of Scotland, responsible for one of the cooling towers which has been investigated.

The council said it related to “staff training issues”, and not the operation of cooling towers.

A council spokesman said the notice did not mean the museum in Chambers Street had been identified as the source of the outbreak.

A museum spokeswoman said: “Tests have confirmed that there are no issues with legionella in our cooling towers.”