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Two test positive for Legionnaires’ disease

Two elderly holidaymakers on board the cruise ship the Black Watch tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease last night. The two passengers, in their 70s and 80s, were taking part in a 17-day cruise around the Baltic when they, along with five others, were taken ill with flu-like symptoms on Friday. All seven passengers were transferred to a Swedish hospital where they were tested and treated for suspected Legionnaires’ disease. A spokesperson for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the owner and operator of the Black Watch, confirmed the diagnosis. “The two passengers who tested positive for the legionnella virus are both responding well to treatment,” she said. “At this stage we don’t yet know in which country or how the legionnella virus was contracted. We are waiting for the test results to come back to us.' She said the cruise liner had not tested positive for the bacterium.” It is understood that the two holidaymakers may have contracted the legionnella virus when on a stop in Russia. The Sverdlovsk region in the Urals is currently experiencing one of the worst legionnella pneumonia outbreaks in its history. One hundred and ten people have been hospitalised since July 20 suffering from pneumonia-type symptoms. Three people have already died. Yesterday, Gennady Onishchenko, Russia’s chief epidemiologist and head of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Supervision, confirmed that the symptoms were caused by the legionnella virus. The cause of the outbreak, which is being investigated, has yet to be established.