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Portugal epidemic warning (November 2014)!

Portugal epidemic warning (November 2014)!

Old Nov 10th, 2014, 03:11 AM
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Portugal epidemic warning (November 2014)!

Hi,

I thought I'd share this with those of you who want to visit Portugal in 2014.
There's a "legionella" epidemic right now, especially bad in the Lisbon area.

This article says "90 dead", but just this morning I read of 160 dead so far (other source I can't remember):
http://www.ubalert.com/GtQb

Here's the Wikipedia on the disease I never heard of until today:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionnaires'_disease
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 03:16 AM
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It looks like 4 dead, and it normally kills those already weakened. I'm surprised that you don't know about this disease as it one associated with the western world where money has been cut back. It mainly comes from badly maintained water tanks and poor air-con.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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It will not be an epidemic, it will be centred around a water store somewhere.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 03:17 AM
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Do you know how Legionella spreads, BlueDragon? Obviously not.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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Agree that it is related to contaminated water. It gained it's name from a famous incident in which many people attending a meeting in a Philadelphia hotel became sick - turned out the water system in the hotel was contaminated. It does not spread from person to person - but through water.

This is something the local health authorities need to track down - and make sure the facility(ies) are closed until their water system is properly sanitized. If it is occurring all over the city that makes it sound like the public water system has a reservoir or similar that is contaminated. But in that case I would expect that many thousands of people would be ill.

And agree that it is most dangerous for people that are immunocompromised (have significant underlying serious illnesses).
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 04:15 AM
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The head of the health ministry of Portugal has advised EVERYONE in Portugal not to take to showers, but bathe instead, and to avoid saunas and jacuzzis, until the source of the outbreak is known.

http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/...outbreak/33181

Apparently the Portuguese authorities at the moment do not know how or where this might be spreading.

While it may be true that those killed already are not in tip-top shape, more than 20 people have been hospitalized in critical condition. This is serious, and travelers to Portugal should be careful and follow the news.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 05:49 AM
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Mayo Clinic's definition:

"Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia — lung inflammation usually caused by infection. Legionnaires' disease is caused by a bacterium known as legionella.

You can't catch Legionnaires' disease from person-to-person contact. Instead, most people get Legionnaires' disease from inhaling the bacteria. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to Legionnaires' disease.

The legionella bacterium also causes Pontiac fever, a milder illness resembling the flu. Separately or together, the two illnesses are sometimes called legionellosis. Pontiac fever usually clears on its own, but untreated Legionnaires' disease can be fatal. Although prompt treatment with antibiotics usually cures Legionnaires' disease, some people continue to experience problems after treatment.

The disease was named in 1976, when American Legion members who attended a Philadelphia convention, suffered from an unusual pneumonia (lung infection).
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 07:34 AM
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In Portugal and I think in every countries, an expected number of legionella infections are produced along the year and the patients are treated without ever know what is the exact bacteria. However, the bells rang when the number of infections expected along a full year were diagnosed in just 48 hours. The authorities did a great job avoiding downplaying the severity of the problem. It's better to be informed by a country authority than by rumors.
The number of casualties and infected seems to be stabilizing and its very likely that the source of the outbreak is never known.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 08:22 AM
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Well in the UK the source is normally found and often prosecuted
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:55 AM
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Yes, in the US an outbreak is almost always traced, the specific locus of infection found and it is shut down until properly cleaned and maintained.

Don't understand how it's possible to solve until public officials have found the locus.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 10:57 PM
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Lobo-mau - how serious do you think this is for tourists? There is no travel warning on the US State Department website, and in fact I was beginning to think it might be a hoax, until I saw your post, as I could find nothing on the BBC website either. Is this in a part of Lisbon not usually visited by tourists? I am scheduled to fly into Lisbon at the end of the month, but I would expect this to be contained by then.... (Sympathy to those infected, and those presently in Lisbon, of course.)
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:00 PM
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It is happening, the numbers are as I stated. Are you a person with major breathing problems? If so I might talk to your airline company, other than that don't worry.
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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 11:14 PM
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Not major, but my lungs have never recovered from too many years smoking. I probably count as "elderly" and I have had pneumonia before, so I would imagine I am not in the lowest risk group. However, I start in Evora, not Lisbon. I will wait and see how things develop.
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 01:37 AM
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Thursdays, if I remember correctly you don't qualify as an elderly Unfortunately the outbreak is not a hoax. Answering the question, I don't think this can affect tourism.The affected area is very geographically limited. It is an industrial area on the right bank of Tagus some 15 miles northeast of Lisbon. The vast majority of affected patients were diagnosed Friday and Saturday and very few after that. This means that the focus was active sometime near the end of October. If and when the source of the outbreak is located I'll let you know.
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 02:35 AM
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The US State Dept did in fact send an email yesterday to those of us registered on its website. The email stated "The U.S. Embassy in Lisbon informs all U.S. citizens of an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Vila Franca de Xira, specifically in the parishes of Vialonga, Povoa de Santa Iria, and Forte de Casa" and recommended that those in the "affected areas" avoid showers, hot tubs and so forth.

Living in central Lisbon (the tourist area), while of course I will monitor the news, as of today I continue to take showers and drink tap water. And I would not dissuade anyone from visiting.
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 04:09 AM
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@lobo-mau - thanks! For the information and the compliment. Alas, it's been a few years, and I recently turned 67...

@luz - thanks to you, too.

I am not worrying at this point. I don't fly to Lisbon until 25 Nov., and then I go straight to Evora for three nights. But updates will be welcome.
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 03:53 PM
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The source has been found. It was in the refrigeration towers of a fertilizer company north of Lisbon, in the municipality of Vila Franca da Xira. 5 people have died, 235 are ill. Criminal charges will be brought.

http://expresso.sapo.pt/foco-de-legi...rtugal=f897588
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Old Nov 11th, 2014, 09:31 PM
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Thanks! So sad, am glad to hear there will be charges.
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Old Nov 17th, 2014, 06:47 AM
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The epidemic outbreak is over. The death toll raised to 8. May them rest in peace.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 01:38 AM
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lobo_mau: it's great to hear the outbreak is over

It's always important to take account of any epidemic. Even if "just" flu or cholera.
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