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Legionnaires outbreak kills 4 in Portugal

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease has killed at least four people just outside the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Reuters has reported.

Authorities said on Monday (10 November) that dozens had been hospitalised and the source of the outbreak was yet to be found.

The Portuguese Health Ministry said 160 people had been diagnosed with the bacteria-borne disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Two dozen were in intensive care in various hospitals.

Four parishes in the district of Vila Franca de Xira, about 25 km (16 miles) northeast of Lisbon, had the greatest concentration of cases.

The disease is contracted by breathing in a mist or vapor contaminated with the Legionella bacteria, which can grow in cooling towers, showers and other water sources. It is not transmitted directly from person to person, but those already in poor health are the most vulnerable.

The world’s largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease happened in 2001 in Spain, where it killed six people.

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