Legionnaires’ alarm sounded in Oslo

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Four persons in Oslo have fallen severely ill with Legionnaires’ disease, and health officials are trying to determine the source of their infection.

Dr Tore Steen of the state health department, in charge of infectious diseases (smittevernoverlege), told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Monday that the Legionnaires outbreak is “worrisome” because it’s suddenly hit several persons.

Three of the four who are ill live in various districts of Oslo. The fourth has spent a lot of time in Oslo. All are around age 50 or older and three have been so ill that they’ve been put on a respirator.

Steen said health authorities initially thought the first case of infection could have stemmed from a shower at home, but now they think there is a common source of infection in Oslo. The authorities have interviewed the patients, taken tests in their homes and retraced their steps to find any common elements.

The last serious outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease occurred in Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad in 2005, when 10 persons died. Common symptoms of the disease are headache, muscle pains, fatigue, fever and a dry cough. Infection sources are usually tied to cooling systems, showers, pools and other sources of moisture.

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