Legionnaires' confirmed at Kepak plant

Two cases of Legionnaire's disease have been confirmed at the Kepak meat boning plant in Lancashire, in Carr Place, near Bamber Bridge, Lancashire.

Two cases of Legionnaire's disease have been confirmed at the Kepak meat boning plant at Carr Place, near Bamber Bridge, Lancashire.

Last week's report on meatinfo stated that two members of staff were struck down by suspected cases of Legionnaires, and while one employee has now made a recovery the other is still "poorly" in hospital.

An investigation into the source is continuing but legionella bacteria have been detected in some water systems at Kepak's Carr Place Plant. However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) stresses legionella is a common environmental bacterium which is often present in cold water.

The HPA has written to GPs and workers have been informed of developments. The owners of the plant are co-operating fully with the investigation.

Dr. Sohail Ashraf, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with the HPA's Cumbria and Lancashire Health Protection Unit, said: "We would advise people to be aware of the symptoms of legionella infection and if they are concerned they should consult their GP.

"The factory where the two patients are employed remains closed until appropriate remedial action has been taken. Staff and management are co-operating fully with our investigations."

Legionnaires' disease is a form of pneumonia that can be serious, particularly in older people and people with other underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to infection.

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