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Cooling tower blamed for huge LD outbreak

Legionnaires'-diseasePORTUGAL: A process refrigeration cooling tower at a fertiliser factory is thought to be the source of a legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Lisbon that has killed five and infected 233.

Described by the World Health Organisation as a major public health emergency, the outbreak is centred in Vila Franca de Xira, a suburb about 30km from Lisbon city centre.

The first cases were reported last Thursday and this has now grown to 233, already making it the third largest legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Thirty-eight people are in intensive care and five have died.

The Portuguese environment minister told reporters that the factory was currently being investigated to if there was any evidence of negligence in maintenance and if any “environmental crime” had been committed.

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