New case of Legionnaires' disease

Another case of Legionnaires' disease has been confirmed in Stoke-on-Trent following an outbreak in the city thought to be linked to a hot tub.

The Health Protection Agency said the latest case brings the total to 21.

The patient, who is being treated at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, is a man in his 70s.

Two patients being treated for the disease since the spate of illnesses began in the middle of July have died.

An HPA spokeswoman said: "This new case is not unexpected.

"It can take up to two weeks following exposure for people to develop symptoms of Legionnaires' disease and a further few days before they might see their GP."

A spokesman for University Hospital of North Staffordshire said: "Three patients remain in hospital and all are in a stable or improving condition."

It was revealed earlier this month that the probable cause of the outbreak was a hot tub at JTF Warehouse in the city after samples were found to have an unusual strain of legionella bacteria, which matched that of the strain taken from patients with the illness.

Dr Sue Ibbotson, regional director of HPA West Midlands, said the organisation has taken detailed histories from those with Legionnaires' and the majority of confirmed cases visited the warehouse in the two weeks before they fell ill.

The samples from the hot tub at JTF Warehouse in City Road, Fenton, were confirmed by the Health Protection Agency's specialist laboratory in Colindale as being the unusual strain legionella bacteria.