A hot tub is thought to have been the probable source of an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease, the Health Protection Agency has said.
Based at JTF Warehouse in City Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, samples taken from the hot tub were found to have an unusual strain of legionella bacteria, which matched that of the strain taken from patients with the illness.
Dr Sue Ibbotson, regional director of Health Protection Agency, West Midlands, said the organisation has taken histories from those with Legionnaires and 17 of the 18 confirmed cases visited the warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill. One patient died after being affected by the disease.
Public and environmental health experts from the Health Protection Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the NHS in Stoke and Stoke-on-Trent City Council are jointly investigating the seven confirmed cases.
While we do not currently have a direct link between the cases the evidence points to the fact that there is a common source.
We are taking detailed histories of the movements of the patients to see if there are similar patterns which would indicate a local source of infection.
Legionnaires' disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening illness.
It is caused by a bacteria commonly associated with water systems and cannot be passed from person to person.
– Professor Harsh Duggal, director of the Health Protection Unit in Stafford