Cases of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease have risen again, the Scottish government has confirmed.
There are now 82 confirmed and suspected cases of Legionnaires’ disease from the outbreak in the south-west of Edinburgh.
This is an increase of one in the total number of confirmed cases, taking the number to 37, and an increase of one suspected case from yesterday, taking the total to 45.
The Health and Safety Executive and Edinburgh City Council are continuing their investigations into the possible source of the outbreak.
Of those cases being treated in hospital, 15 were in intensive care and 26 were on general wards.
A total of 16 cases were being treated in the community, 19 have been discharged from hospital and one person has died.
Scotland health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “These latest figures are reassuring and in line with expectations, and although it is too early to be definite they do suggest we are now in the later stages of this outbreak.
“All those involved are responding extremely well: NHS Lothian services are coping with the demands on them and the City of Edinburgh Council and the Health and Safety Executive continue to make significant progress in their investigation to identify the source of this outbreak.”
Five of the cases are being treated outside the NHS Lothian area.
One patient is being treated in the north of England, two in NHS Tayside, one in NHS Lanarkshire and one patient from NHS Highland is now being treated in Glasgow.
At this stage all these cases are considered to be linked to the south-west Edinburgh outbreak.
The ages of the confirmed cases ranges between 33 and 76, with more males than females affected.
NHS 24 has received 630 calls to the dedicated helpline for Legionnaires’ disease.
Dr Duncan McCormick, chair of the incident management team at NHS Lothian, said: “We are pleased with the slow down in the number of cases presenting and we hope this will continue over the coming days.
“The risk to the general public is low but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or NHS 24’s dedicated hotline on 0800 0858 531.”
The search for the source of the disease outbreak has centred on cooling towers at four sites in the south-west of the city, which have been “shock-treated” with chemicals.
An improvement notice has been served 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.
HSE said the improvement notice does not mean the distillery is where the outbreak originated.