LYON, Jan 20 (AFP) – A 56-year-old man in eastern France has died from Legionnaires’ disease, bringing to 11 the number of people killed by the disease in the past two months.
The man was a resident of the eastern town of Roussillon, while the other 10 deaths and 73 infections have been registered around the northern town of Lens.
Officials said no other cases of the disease have been detected in the eastern Isere region, and that the man was not contagious.
The cooling tower at the Noroxo petrochemicals plant in the town of Harnes is so far the only source of contamination that has been identified in northern France, although officials have singled out a possible second source further east.
Noroxo is part of the Exxon Mobil group, the world’s biggest oil company.
A McCain potato fries plant has also been ordered shut as a precautionary measure after a small quantity of the Legionnaires’ bacteria was found in one of the plant’s refrigeration towers.
Legionnaires’ disease – first discovered at an American Legion convention in the United States in July 1976, where 29 people died – causes high fever, dry cough, lung congestion and subsequent pneumonia.
It is commonly spread through contaminated air conditioners and ventilators and is treated with antibiotics.
Subject: France news