Sweden fears spread of Norwegian Legionnaires disease

Hospitals and health centres in the west of Sweden are on a state of high alert after an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease across the border in Norway claimed its fifth victim.

Over ninety people in Sarpsborg and Fredrikstad in south east Norway have been diagnosed with the disease, according to Swedish Radio. Eleven are said to be in a serious condition and four are on respirators.

“Everything indicates a massive spread,” said Hans Blystad, a consultant at Norway’s public health institute. “I fear many more cases.”

All hospitals and health centres on the Swedish side of the border are being kept informed about what is now being called an epidemic.

“We’re located near the area of infection and are requesting increased vigilance,” said Peter Ulleryd, a specialist in infectious diseases in the Västra Götaland region.

The health centre in the Swedish town of Strömstad reported that it has been deluged by worried callers, with “more than usual” coming in to be seen by doctors.

“Four or five patients came in with symptoms which meant we did some tests,” said doctor Per Midthvedt to TV4.

So far there are no confirmed cases in Sweden.

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet, SR