Two people have contracted legionnaires disease at a factory in Boldon, South Tyneside.
The two confirmed cases occurred several months apart, the first in October last year and the second in April this year. Both people needed hospital treatment but have since recovered.
The third suspected case is currently in hospital.
Experts from Public Health England (PHE) North East, South Tyneside Council and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are investigating two confirmed and one probable case of Legionnaires’ disease in people who work at Faltec Ltd.
Faltec makes components for the automotive industry, and its customers include Nissan, Land Rover and Toyota, and Honda.
Dr Tricia Cresswell of the North East PHE Centre said: ‘We are working closely with South Tyneside Council and the HSE to investigate potential sources of infection and the company is co-operating fully with the investigation.
‘On the advice of the Health and Safety Executive, a range of actions have already been taken by the company to treat and disinfect possible sources of the infection, including cooling towers and open water systems. Additional actions are being carried out this weekend.
‘As a precaution staff are being advised to contact their GP if they develop a chest infection or other respiratory symptoms.
‘Legionnaires’ disease is an uncommon form of pneumonia caused when a person breathes in air that contains legionella bacteria in droplets of water.
‘These bacteria live naturally in environmental water sources but if they get into water systems in buildings they can cause a risk to humans through air conditioning systems, showers and spa pools.
‘Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person and can only be contracted from the source of the contaminated water.’