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Legionnella bacteria may be present on cruise ship

Seven elderly UK holidaymakers are being treated in a Swedish hospital after exhibiting symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease. The Britons, aged between 70 and 80, began to complain of muscle aches, tiredness, headaches and fever while on board the cruise ship the Black Watch, owned by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. The seven were transferred to a hospital in Stockholm on Friday evening where they are said to be stable. Two were given a clean bill of health and were discharged earlier today, a spokesperson said. The luxury cruise ship - carrying 756 passengers and 329 crew members – is currently on a 17-day trip around the Baltic. The trip is being cut short by two days and is due to dock into Dover this evening. Swedish officials are carrying out a number of investigations to determine the cause of the infections, and how and where they were contracted. This may prove problematic since the vessel had previously visited five ports in northern Europe before arriving in Stockholm. A Fred. Olsen spokesperson said: “Fred. Olsen regards the health and safety of its passengers and crew as the highest priority and will take all steps necessary to eradicate all trace of any infection that may be found on the ship. “As a precaution, and for the welfare of all persons on board, all jacuzzis, swimming pool and swimmex machines have been closed until further notice. “The decision has now been taken to bring Black Watch direct to Dover. This will allow for a thorough cleansing of the vessel before she sets off on her next cruise on August 1.”