An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at Croxford Hospital has infected up to four people and a newborn baby earlier today.
Three patients, two of which recently gave birth and another midwife are all being treated and are “responding” to treatment to the disease which was confirmed at 7pm yesterday evening.
The grandmother of the newborn baby, Lilly Harborne, 59, said: “My daughter Debbie had a little boy on Friday, but was sent home last night after her baby became ill.
“They’ve kept the baby in hospital for treatment and we’re not allowed to visit at the moment. We are all absolutely distraught”.
Up to 250 patients and medical staff will be transferred to nearby hospitals as a precaution against the disease, which is thought to have originated in the air conditioning on the maternity ward Daneway, which has now been shut down.
All outpatient clinics have been suspended and patients requiring any emergency treatment are being urged to dial 999 as a precaution due to it being “possible that more cases will be discovered” the hospital says. Patients requiring routine procedures should contact their GP’s.
The early symptoms of the potentially fatal condition involves general aches, headaches and a dry cough, which ultimately turn into confusion, a temperature of up to 40 degrees and even organ failure.
Treated with antibiotics, the respiratory disease multiplies in water or air conditioning units, but person to person transmission is virtually unheard of.
Croxford Hospital said: “We have a team of scientists from the hospital and departments of Blowhampton University working on this”.
The hospital has set up a special hotline for any queries from relatives and patients. The number is 01372 400 400.