Legionnaires’ Disease Attacks Nordic Tourists

So far two Finns, one Norwegian, and two Swede tourists aged 24 to 66 have fallen ill with pneumonia-like disease caused by Legionella bacteria after staying in the Grand Tropicana Hotel in Phuket. The first case was reported on November 20th 2006. Also, a Finnish traveler who was resident at the hotel about a year ago probably fell ill with the disease.
Due to the situation all Finnish guest at the Grand Tropicana Hotel in Phuket have been transferred to other accommodation. Tourists who have booked their trip to Phuket through the Finnish travel operator Aurinkomatkat may cancel their vacation or change their destination because all hotels in Phuket are filled to capacity.
So far Aurinkomatkat has found new accommodation for about 140 travelers of the 300 Finns who were staying at the hotel from the beginning of the week. Efforts are being made to find another hotel for the remaining residents, says Tuomo Meretniemi from Aurinkomakat.
Legionnaire’s disease does not necessarily cause any symptoms. However, for patients in poor health and elderly with heart and lung conditions, the disease can be fatal.
Aurinkomatkat has sent letters to around 1,500 clients who have been resident in the hotel since November 20th 2006 and have fallen ill with fever more than 38°C either during the trip or within 14 days after leaving the hotel to go to the doctor as soon as possible. However, if the symptoms have already disappeared, there is no need to seek medical care.
According to the National Public Health Institute, the Grand Tropicana Hotel must not be used until the water and air-conditioning systems have been cleaned and appropriate certifications on the completion of the measures have been received.
The Legionella bacteria is transmitted in water droplets, usually spread by the spray from water towers, and can grow in shower heads that sit with stagnant water. However the water samples from the hotel have not been processed yet.

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