Wales politics

Barry Legionnaires' probe to continue into 2020, says Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford
Image caption Mark Drakeford said the investigation will continue into at least February 2020

An investigation into a cluster of cases of Legionnaires' disease in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, is set to continue into next year.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said that despite extensive investigations, no common source had yet been identified.

Eleven cases of the disease have been reported in and around Barry within the past twelve months.

The watchdog Public Health Wales has so far decided against labelling it as an outbreak.

Legionnaires' disease is a lung infection caught by inhaling droplets of water that contain the bacteria. It cannot be passed from person to person.

During Tuesday's First Minister's Questions, Conservative David Melding said the annual average number of Legionnaire's cases for the whole of Wales was around 30.

The South Wales Central AM said the high number of cases would be "of great concern to residents", suggesting that ways of contracting the disease, such as coming into contact with stale water and commercial wind screen washer fluid, were not well known.

Public health officials have said there is no evidence that the cases around Barry are linked.

Mr Drakeford said the incident management team set up to look into the issue would continue investigating for six months after the latest confirmed case, taking it into at least February 2020.

He added that the group was due to meet again in two weeks' time.

"It will look at latest information, including for example, the recent testing of all four registered water cooling towers in Barry, none of which turned out to a source of the legionella bacteria," he said.

"It will continue to work with businesses [and] pursue any new avenues of enquiry that become available to it.

"And it will continue to provide advice for local citizens of the actions that they can take - removing unused taps and showerheads, draining water and garden hoses and using commercial screen washes."

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