NINE cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the last 10 months in the Vale of Glamorgan, has prompted public health advice.

Employers and members of the public are being reminded of the steps to take to minimise the risk of Legionnaires’ disease as Public Health Wales (PHW) and partner agencies investigate a higher than usual number of cases that have presented in the Vale.

There is no evidence that any of these cases are linked, and most have individual risk factors for acquiring their infection, including some with travel abroad.

But as a precautionary measure PHW and partner agencies are advising employers to check their legionella policies and practices to ensure they are compliant as we move into the summer months when Legionnaires’ disease is often more common.

People can reduce the risk of Legionnaires’ disease by regularly flushing through or removing unused taps and shower heads, draining water bowsers and garden hoses if not in use, and using commercial screen washes in their vehicles.

PHW consultant in communicable disease control, Dr Gwen Lowe said: “Legionnaires’ disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. People become infected when they inhale Legionella bacteria which are spread through the air in the form of vapours or droplets from a contaminated water source. Legionnaires’ disease cannot be passed from person to person.”

“Most cases of Legionnaires’ disease notified to us are sporadic cases, but unexplained clustering does occur from time to time.

With our local authority partners, we investigate every case in detail when it is notified, and at the same time we look for any potential links to other cases in the area.

“If possible, we also send samples from those affected for typing.

“The results of samples we have received so far are different, suggesting the typed cases are not linked.”

“On average, there are around 30 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Wales each year.

“These are usually spread throughout Wales.

“This year there have been 10 cases of Legionella across Wales to date, two of which have been in the Vale of Glamorgan.

“In 2018, there were seven cases in this area.”

“We are closely monitoring this situation, continue to investigate cases, and will keep the status of this incident under review.”