The Malta Independent 1 November 2014, Saturday

Briton dies of Legionnaires’ disease after Malta holiday

Malta Independent Sunday, 26 January 2014, 12:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

A 59-year-old man from Billington, Lancashire died earlier this month from Legionnaires’ disease after having been on a week-long holiday in Malta last November.

According to various press reports from Lancashire, Steve Whitehead and his wife had visited Malta last November but shortly after arriving home, Mr Whitehead fell ill.

The Lancashire Telegraph quotes the victim’s wife as saying: “He started to feel ill on the Wednesday, and on the Sunday he collapsed and went downhill fast.”

After being initially treated in Royal Blackburn Hospital's intensive care unit, Mr Whitehead was taken to Wythenshaw Hospital. But despite the best efforts of doctors, who used specialist machinery in a bid to save Mr Whitehead’s life, he died on 6 January, a month before his 60th birthday.

It is believed that Mr Whitehead contracted Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by bacteria, while abroad.

The newspaper quotes senior environmental health officer for Ribble Valley Council Eamonn Roberts as having stated that “a full, detailed investigation” of Mr Whitehead’s illness had been carried out, “to pinpoint where he acquired the infection”.

Mr Roberts added: “We do not believe he became infected locally.”

Mrs Whitehead explained: “The environmental person came here and we spoke in great detail about where we had been and what we had done.

“We presumed the disease came from abroad. I have a phone number to ring, but because of the funeral and everything, I have not done it yet. I would like to know what happened, and if anything will come from this.”

Mrs Whitehead said she would be looking for answers.

Legionnaires’ disease is a type of pneumonia, caused by the bacteria called legionella, which can also cause a mild, flu-like illness called Pontiac fever. This is not usually serious and does not lead to pneumonia.

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