Since the last week of July, Executive North Regional Health officials have reported up to 16 Legionnaires’ disease cases in the second largest city of Porto, or Oporto, according to a health ministry press release (computer translated).
The press release states 12 cases confirmed; however, local media put the case count at 16.
According to the official health ministry information, 10 of the cases occurred in residents of Grand Harbour, while two cases were considered travel-associated.
At least two patients are still hospitalized for their illness and they are responding favorably to treatment, health officials note.
Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella. Additional symptoms include: headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, confusion and diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear two to 10 days after significant exposure to Legionella bacteria. Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, cooling towers, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.
Legionnaires’ disease cannot be spread from person to person. Groups at high risk for Legionnaire’s disease include people who are middle-aged or older – especially cigarette smokers – people with chronic lung disease or weakened immune systems and people who take medicines that weaken their immune systems (immunosuppressive drugs).