Two new Legionnaires’ cases in N France
ARRAS, France, Jan 15 (AFP) – Two new cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been reported in northern France, bringing to 73 the number of people infected since an outbreak began two months ago, regional officials said.
Nine of those infected have died.
The latest reported cases concern a 46-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man who fell ill at the start of the month.
Cyrille Schott, the prefect for the Pas-de-Calais department, said the new cases did not represent a new wave of Legionnaires’ infections as the incubation period could be as long as 20 days.
Of those who have contracted the disease, nine have died and 24 remain hospitalized, five of them in intensive care.
The cooling tower at the Noroxo petrochemicals plant in nearby Harnes was identified as the primary source of contamination, but officials have singled out a possible second source in Henin-Beaumont to the east.
The Noroxo plant has been closed twice since the start of the outbreak.Noroxo is part of the Exxon Mobil group, the world’s biggest oil company.
Legionnaires’ disease – first discovered at an American Legion convention in the United States in 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