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Legionnaires' cases set to peak
Cases of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease are expected to peak this weekend, medics have said.
There are now 74 confirmed and suspected cases of Legionnaires' disease from the outbreak in the south-west of Edinburgh.
The source of the bug has not been identified but the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has served an improvement notice on the North British Distillery Company for alleged failures to adequately control the risk of legionella in a cooling tower.
The company said it took three towers out of use on Thursday and is working with the authorities to resolve the issue.
Twenty-eight people have now been confirmed as having Legionnaires' disease and another 46 are suspected of having it.
So far one man has died, named locally as 56-year-old Robert Air, from Seafield in Edinburgh.
Fourteen people are in intensive care, a further 30 are in general hospital wards, 15 are being treated in the community and 10 have already been discharged from hospital.
Dr Duncan McCormick, Chair of the Incident Management Team at NHS Lothian, said: "The number of patients with confirmed or suspected Legionnaires' disease has increased since Thursday. This is exactly in line with what we expected and what we have predicted so far, based on the first presentation of patients and the incubation period of Legionnaires' disease which is between two and 14 days, but usually has an average of five to six days.
"We expect that the numbers of patients affected will peak over the weekend and then begin to fall as we move into the beginning of next week. The majority of patients who are presenting now are also on the lower end of the sickness scale and are therefore more likely to be treated in the community with appropriate care than be admitted into hospital, meaning that they are also unlikely to have underlying health conditions."
Four patients are now being cared for outside the NHS Lothian area: one in Glasgow, one in the north of England, one in the NHS Tayside area and one in NHS Lanarkshire. All these cases are considered to be linked to the outbreak in the south-west of Edinburgh.