An investigation has been launched after four elderly residents died in one week at a care home.

NHS Grampian said it was looking into what it called a “small outbreak” of respiratory illness at the Havencourt care home in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.

The four who died all had underlying medical conditions.

A statement from the health board said: “NHS Grampian is investigating a small outbreak of respiratory illness at Havencourt care home in Stonehaven which has affected residents and staff. The outbreak started in mid-March and the last reported case was on 25 March.

“The care home is co-operating fully with our advice and additional infection control measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of transmission to other residents. Sadly, four elderly residents who had shown some symptoms in the care home have died during the last week.

“All of those four residents were known to have other underlying conditions. Residents and staff who still have symptoms are improving.”

The home is currently closed to new admissions.

A statement from Four Seasons Health Care, which owns the home, said: “Havencourt care home, in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, notified the appropriate authorities and is currently being assisted by the Health Protection Agency in an investigation following the deaths of four residents over a period of a week.

“Tests have been conducted at the home and samples have been sent for identification. It is not yet known whether the suspected virus is directly linked to the deaths of the residents who all had existing medical conditions.

“The wellbeing and welfare of our residents is always our first priority and the staff are distressed by the deaths. We have taken appropriate measures to eradicate the suspected virus and will continue to work with the Health Protection Agency.”