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Legionnaires' cases on the up

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UK health officials are investigating an increase in cases of Legionnaires' disease.

UK health officials are investigating an increase in cases of Legionnaires' disease.

A total of 163 cases of Legionnaires' disease were reported in the first half of the year, between January and June 2007, according to the Health Protection Agency. This compares to 120 cases during the same period in 2006 and 103 in 2005.

Carol Joseph, a Legionella specialist at the agency, said the rise reflected an increase in single cases and the detection of a few small clusters.

'We currently don't have any evidence to link the individual cases in these clusters to any common source of exposure,' she said.

Legionnaires' symptoms include a 'flu-like' illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever, leading on to pneumonia. Sometimes diarrhoea occurs and confusion may develop.

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