Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Poland Kills 16

Legionnaires’ Illness Outbreak in Poland Kills 16

Sixteen individuals have died and over 150 have been hospitalized in southeastern Poland in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ illness, a extreme pressure of bacterial pneumonia, native well being authorities stated Wednesday.

The outbreak has been concentrated within the southeastern metropolis of Rzeszow, which lies about 60 miles from the border with neighboring Ukraine, though some instances have been registered elsewhere. The Polish well being ministry said this week that the largely probably supply of an infection was Rzeszow’s municipal water community.

As soon as comparatively quiet, Rzeszow has grow to be an necessary hub for the worldwide response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, internet hosting American troopers and hundreds of Ukrainian refugees. The deaths, which have occurred over the previous week, sparked unfounded rumors in Poland of Russian duty for the outbreak that the authorities have tried to tamp down.

Stanislaw Zaryn, a deputy minister who oversees the nation’s intelligence companies, said Friday that the Polish inner safety service was pursuing a routine investigation into the circumstances behind the an infection to rule out “potential intentional motion on this case.”

Prof. Robert Flisiak, an epidemiologist who leads the Polish Affiliation of Epidemiologists and Infectiologists, stated there had been no proof that somebody had sought to trigger the outbreak.

“The precise variety of registered instances within the final two weeks is what we normally report in two years,” Professor Flisiak stated in an electronic mail. However the variety of instances in Poland was nonetheless small in comparison with common outbreaks in different European international locations, he added.

Legionnaires’ illness may be deadly in about 10 p.c of instances, in line with the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Most wholesome individuals uncovered to the micro organism don’t grow to be sick, however the danger is increased among the many aged and folks with weak immune methods.

The illness is normally unfold by inhaling airborne water droplets — akin to vapor from ornamental fountains or scorching tubs — somewhat than via interpersonal contact or consuming water, in line with the C.D.C. In Rzeszow, a authorities disaster crew shut off water fountains and consuming stations in response to the outbreak.

Over the previous few days, native authorities in Rzeszow have handled town’s water provide community with chlorine in an try to wipe out the an infection, the municipality stated on its Fb web page. Town beneficial that residents — confronted with the stench of chlorine coming from their faucets — boil the water earlier than consuming it.

Rising temperatures spurred partly by local weather change might have performed a task within the outbreak, Professor Flisiak stated, because the micro organism that trigger Legionnaires’ illness thrive within the warmth. Like a lot of Europe, Poland has had sweltering temperatures this summer time, a part of a continentwide warmth wave.

Anatol Magdziarz contributed reporting from Warsaw.

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