Legionnaires' disease: more than 40 cases feared and growing
MORE than forty people are now thought to have been infected in the Legionnaires' disease outbreak with the full toll not expected to peak until after the weekend.
One man has died from the disease and a further 20 other cases of the illness have been confirmed in the outbreak in Edinburgh.
Another 19 suspected cases are also being investigated.
The Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said it was likely the figures could rise over the weekend as symptoms take time to show.
However doctors are confident they have identified all possible sources – thought to be cooling towers of air conditioning units – and all have received shock chemical treatment.
The health secretary, speaking at a press conference, said that while the rise was alarming, the good news was that treatment appeared to be working.
The number of patients in intensive has dropped to 12 and two sufferers have already been discharged form hospital.
Earlier Dr Duncan McCormick, consultant in public medicine and chairman of the incident management team at NHS Lothian, warned that cases of the disease could continue rising until the weekend.
"The incubation period of Legionnaires' disease is between two and 14 days but the average is five or six days, so we're expecting to have more cases over the next few days," he said.
While tests are being carried out to determine the exact source of the outbreak, a number of water cooling towers in the city have been chemically treated.
Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, Dr McCormick said: "If our action has been correct, we hope to have removed the source though our shock treatment of these cooling towers.
"So we would hope that by the weekend, five or six days after the treatment, we will start to see a decline in cases.
"I think the peak will be about the weekend and then the decline will be after that."