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Legionnaire’s Disease - 836/2023

December 01, 2023

The GHA have had 4 confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease in Gibraltar since September. Of the four cases, two are now recovered and two are currently receiving treatment. Legionnaire’s disease is caused by a bacteria that usually grows in stagnant water and sometimes in poorly maintained water systems. The bacteria causes the disease by a person inhaling aerosolised droplets and not through drinking of contaminated water. You cannot catch Legionnaire’s disease from another person. It typically causes shortness of breath and can result in a pneumonia.

The Environmental Agency is working closely with the Director of Public Health to establish the source of the infection. At this time there is no causal link established to any facilities, buildings or locations and there are no links established between the cases

A Strategic Coordinating Group met this afternoon and will continue to monitor the situation.

The Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Carter, said: ‘Ensuring that water systems in homes and businesses are well maintained is really important to prevent Legionnaire’s disease. You can do this simply by running your taps and showers for a few minutes every week. Any taps that haven'tbeen run for more than 7 days should be run for two minutes. The other potential source we are concerned about is car screen windscreen wash. We would advise using specialist car screen fluid rather than tap water as bacteria can multiply in tap water. If you are concerned about your health and specifically if you have worsening shortness of breath, please can 111 to be clinically assessed. The GHA will issue a further press release as soon as it has further information regarding the source of the infection.’