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Sixth Legionnaires victim in Kent

William Harvey hospital stock
William Harvey hospital stock

by Nick Lillitos

Legionnaires' disease has claimed a sixth victim in Kent.

Meanwhile a Dover man already being treated in hospital has recovered sufficiently to be allowed home. The remaining original cases are all said to be improving.

The name and area of the latest person to be admitted to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford is not being given out 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 - which three of the other cases had.

So far there has been one reported death in the outbreak - a man from Dover who died earlier this month and identified as Kevin Carroll, who was in his early 50s. 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 health protection agency, said: "We know the deceased patient had a different strain of Legionella to the others and that the latest case had undergone day surgery in 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 and identify the source of these infectiions.

"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.

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