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New Legionnaires clean-up ordered

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Nicola Sturgeon says it is reassuring that all those involved are continuing to respond well to being treated

Nicola Sturgeon says it is reassuring that all those involved are continuing to respond well to being treated

Nicola Sturgeon says it is reassuring that all those involved are continuing to respond well to being treated

The health and safety watchdog has ordered a clean-up at a second company being investigated as a possible source of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease.

Pharmaceuticals firm Macfarlan Smith, based in Wheatfield Road in south-west Edinburgh where most of the cases originate, was served two improvement notices by the Health and Safety Executive.

There are now 39 confirmed cases and 49 suspected cases of the disease, an increase of two confirmed and four suspected. So far one man has died, named locally as 56-year-old Robert Air, from Seafield in Edinburgh.

The HSE ordered thorough cleaning of one of Macfarlan Smith's cooling towers and ordered provision of access for the same tower so it can be inspected and maintained.

Last week the watchdog served an improvement notice on North British Distillery Company which is also in Wheatfield Road. It was censured for failing to devise and implement a sustained, effective biocide control programme for one cooling tower on its site. Other companies are being visited as part of the investigation into the outbreak of the disease.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Today's developments, which show a slight increase, are in line with expectations. With a 14-day incubation period, we would expect there to be fluctuations over the next week or so."

Fourteen of the patients being treated in hospital are in intensive care and 26 are on general wards, while 18 are being treated in the community. Seven patients are being treated outside of the NHS Lothian area. The patients, mostly men, are aged between 33 and 76.

In a statement Macfarlan Smith said: "On Sunday 10th June during a visit by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors as part of an ongoing investigation into the current legionnaires disease outbreak in South West Edinburgh, we voluntarily shut down a small cooling tower on our site as a precaution.

"Subsequent to the visit, the HSE have today served two Improvement Notices on Macfarlan Smith, one relating to the cleaning of the tower and one relating to improvement of access to the tower. As the HSE has stated in their press release, this does not mean that this cooling tower has been identified as the source of the outbreak.

"Macfarlan Smith continues to work closely with the HSE in their investigations into the outbreak. The health and safety of our employees and the local community remains our highest priority. Our thoughts are with the individuals and families affected by the current situation."

PA