Published: 11:02, 12 August 2009
| Updated: 11:02, 12 August 2009
A sixth person in east Kent has contracted legionnaires’ disease, while a Dover man already being treated in hospital has recovered sufficiently to be allowed home.
The name and area of the latest person to be admitted to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford is not being given out at present by health officials, citing "confidential reasons".
However, the patient is said to be a man in his 60s with no links to the William Harvey Hospital – which three of the other cases had.
The Kent Health Protection Unit confirmed on Tuesday last week that a Dover man who was admitted to the hospital on August 11 with the disease has now been released. The remaining original cases are all said to be improving.
So far there has been one reported death in the outbreak. Kevin Carroll, from Dover, was in his early 50s and died a fortnight ago.
He had been admitted to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on August 5, where he died two days later.
Dr Mathi Chandrakumar, director of the Kent Health Protection Unit, said: "We know the deceased patient had a different strain of legionella to the others and that the latest case had undergone day surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Folkestone.
"But this was at the extreme end of the possible incubation period, making this unlikely as the source of infection."
He added: "There remains no evidence that the cases are linked and we are still working closely with our partners in the NHS to try to identify the source of these infections.
"This includes investigating all places each person visited in the two weeks before they fell ill."
Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon form of pneumonia caused by a type of bacterium found in the environment.
It causes disease when it is spread through the air as a spray or vapour from a water source and droplets are inhaled. It cannot be spread from one person to another.