Two Brits die after contracting Legionnaires disease in SpainPublished on Monday, 06 February 2012 12:40
At least two British pensioners have been killed and a further eight admitted to hospital after an outbreak of Legionnaires disease at a hotel in Spain.
Two British holidaymakers, both in their seventies died within hours of each other this week after being admitted to intensive care at a hospital in Benidorm on Spain's southeastern Costa Blanca.
Three other British tourists have also been treated there in the last fortnight, authorities confirmed, and another five sought treatment after returning to Britain.
All the victims were over 70 years old and fell ill last month after holidaying at the four-star AR Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe, a resort along the coast from Benidorm famed for its long white sand beaches and popular with Britons seeking winter sun.
Spanish health chiefs warned that further cases could occur as they had not yet located the exact source of the outbreak.
Legionnaires' disease is caught by inhaling minute droplets of water containing the bacteria and is often passed through faulty air-conditioning units or plumbing systems.
It causes a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and is most likely to affect the elderly and infirm.
The British affected had all been travelling with tour agent Saga, which specialises in holidays for the over-50s.
The company moved all its guests out of the hotel when the alert was raised on Jan 14.
"It is vital for us at Saga that we do the right thing as quickly as possible and we quickly provided support for customers and the families of those taken ill," said Paul Green, a company spokesman,
Scientists have been sent in to the 283-room hotel to investigate but had so far failed to locate the source of the outbreak.
A spokesman for the regional health authority said: "As the incubation period is 10 to 12 days, we cannot rule out new cases."
The Foreign Office confirmed the deaths of two British nationals, whose names have not been released.
"We are aware of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Calpe, Spain and the confirmed death of two British nationals as a result," said a spokesman in London.
"We are providing consular assistance to those affected by the outbreak and their families."