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Legionnella cases rise

The number of cases of Legionnaires’ disease has risen over the last two years, according to Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures. A total of 163 cases of the disease were reported between January and June 2007, against the 120 cases reported in the same period last year, and 103 cases in the 2005 period. Two thirds of all reported cases were contracted in the UK, while just over a third (34 per cent) were contracted abroad. The IPA said it was investigating the increase. Dr Carol Joseph, IPA’s Legionella expert, said: “The higher number of cases being detected over the past few years is likely to be due to increased awareness of the disease which means more cases are being reported, and also with the wider use of rapid testing methods to identify the disease. “The continued rise in cases reflects an increase in single cases and the detection of a few small clusters around the country. Although we currently don't have any evidence to link the individual cases in these clusters to any common source of exposure, we are continuing to look for any potential links.” She added: “We are also monitoring the national picture to ensure that any possible links between isolated or clustered cases are not missed.”