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Public warned as Legionnaires' disease cluster declared in Barry

Legionnaires' disease is called by the Legionella bacterium. Credit: PA

Residents in Barry have been warned to take precautions after a 'cluster' of Legionnaires' disease was declared in the area.

Eleven cases of the disease have emerged in the Vale of Glamorgan over the last 12 months.

Public Health Wales say there's no evidence the cases are linked.

The situation has been labeled a 'cluster' as it does not yet qualify as a Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacteria called Legionella and can often begin with flu-like symptoms. It can lead to pneumonia.

How you can reduce the risk of Legionnaires' disease?

  • Regularly flushing through or removing unused taps and shower heads.
  • Draining water bowsers and garden hoses.
  • Using commercial screen washes in vehicles.

Although Legionnaires’ disease is rare, it can be a potentially life threatening illness. The disease is caught through inhaling Legionella bacteria, which are spread through the air in the form of vapours or droplets from a contaminated water source. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be passed from person to person.

Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease notified to us are sporadic cases, but unexplained clustering does occur from time to time. We are closely monitoring this situation, continue to investigate cases, and will keep the status of this incident under review.

– Dr Gwen Lowe, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales

What are the symptoms to look out for?

  • high temperature - feverishness and chills.
  • cough.
  • muscle pains.
  • headaches.
  • pneumonia.
  • diarrhoea.
  • Signs of mental confusion.

There are on average 30 cases of Legionnaires' disease in Wales every year.