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21 September 2010

Two confirmed dead in LD outbreak

TWO people are now confirmed to have died in the legionnaires' disease outbreak that has hit South Wales.
The 49 year-old woman and an 85-year-old male who died were amongst 22 confirmed cases, all requiring hospital treatment, since the outbreak began. One further possible case is still under investigation.

The outbreak area is the corridor either side of the Heads of the Valleys Road (A465) between Abergavenny and Llandarcy. People are linked to the outbreak if they live in, or have visited, this area in the two weeks before they fell ill. Investigations are focusing on a cluster of seven people linked to Rhymney and a further potential cluster of people in the Cynon valley is also being investigated. The other people have various links and connections across the outbreak area.

The HSE has now inspected all 28 registered cooling towers and evaporative condensers in the affected area. A prohibition notice was served on a site in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, where cooling towers were not being operated in accordance with the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). A company in the Rhymney Valley voluntarily closed its cooling tower in order for it to be disinfected. A second company in the Rhymney Valley shut down a wet scrubber as a precaution. Following contact by environmental health officers, a company in the Cynon Valley also voluntarily closed its cooling tower.

None of the four sites has been confirmed as the source of the outbreak.

Three improvement notices were served on a further three companies running registered premises requiring them to further improve their operation of their systems. Another three premises with cooling towers and/or evaporative condensers that were not registered with the appropriate local authority were identified and visited.

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