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Legionnaires' outbreak cases hit 19

Two new cases of Legionnaires' disease have been identified as being part of an outbreak in South Wales.

The rise brings the number of cases to 19 in total, all of which have required hospital treatment.

Major efforts to find and eradicate the source of the outbreak, clustered around the Heads of the Valleys corridor, are continuing.

Public Health Wales (PHW) is working closely with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environmental Health Officers from eight South Wales local authorities.

The rise in the number of cases linked to the current outbreak follows the confirmation of three extra cases on Friday.

There are also four cases of Legionnaires' disease which are possibly linked to the outbreak. All remain under investigation.

Among those four cases are two pensioners who have died within the last week. One was a 64-year-old woman who died in hospital on Monday. The second was a man, 74, who also died in hospital, on Wednesday.

Efforts to trace the source of the outbreak have been focusing on the Merthyr Tydfil, Rhymney and Blaenau Gwent areas.

On Friday, HSE officials shut down a company's water cooling tower at a site in Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil. The firm immediately cleaned and disinfected the tower and was quickly given the green light to restart work.

PHW officials have stressed that the site of the un-named firm has not been confirmed as being the source of the outbreak. More than 100 separate workplaces have so far been visited by officials trying to locate the source.

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