Eleven people die from Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in Polish town of Rzeszow

Legionella is a bacteria that thrives in hot water systems
Legionella is a bacteria that thrives in hot water systems Copyright Canva
By Euronews with AFP
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An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has now killed 11 people in the town of Rzeszow, on the Ukrainian border.

Eleven people have now died from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in a town in southeast Poland.


Local health authorities delivered the updated death toll on Monday, following an outbreak of the disease in the town of Rzeszow, which is on the border with Ukraine.

The dead range in age from 64 to 95, and all were suffering from other chronic illnesses.

Legionella is a bacteria that thrives in hot water systems. According to the NHS in the UK, it’s usually caught in places like hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria has entered the water supply.

It can be spread by things like air conditioning systems, humidifiers, spa pools, hot tubs, and taps and showers that aren’t used often. It causes severe respiratory problems, and treatment often requires antibiotics delivered intravenously, and oxygen delivered through a face mask or machine.

"We have confirmed 144 cases (of contamination) and eleven fatal cases," Adam Sidor, the regional health inspector, told reporters.

"We're looking for the source of contamination. Contamination of the hot and cold water supply network is being considered at the moment," he added.

According to initial test results, the presence of Legionella bacteria has been confirmed at various levels in half of the first 18 water samples examined.

A total of 105 samples were taken.

"This does not yet allow us to say that the water supply system is the source of contamination. The next few days will be decisive," said the health inspector.

Over the weekend, the authorities in Rzeszow, a city of around 200,000 inhabitants, undertook additional disinfection work throughout the network.

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