On Tuesday this week sixteen people had been confirmed as being infected with the bacteria, all within the Greater Oporto area, five of whom were admitted to hospital with Legionnaires Disease.
Six cooling towers were closed off and disinfected as a result of the outbreak but the National Health Board has declined to specify the exact location of the towers.
A hotel in the region, reportedly the Boa Vista Hotel, was also shut down after a French and a Swedish tourist staying at the establishment became infected with the bacteria.
But, Francisco George, the head of the Health Board, stressed no link has yet been made between those cases and the others.
Speaking at a press conference in Oporto at the start of this week, Francisco George explained that the sixteen cases have emerged since the last week in July.
Two of the people contaminated picked the bug up while abroad.
All of those who were admitted to hospital are understood to be progressing favourably.
George elaborated that “six cooling towers were identified as having the bacteria in them, in places that produce aerosols. These equipments were immediately closed and disinfected,”
Not wanting to identify which public buildings were involved, the Director General of Health made it very clear that “this situation is totally different from the situation found in Vila Franca de Xira” last year, which within a few days turned into “an explosive epidemic, with 402 confirmed cases,” and 14 deaths registered.
He further clarified that this most recent outbreak and the happenings at the Boa Vista Hotel are “two distinct fields, two different problems, only coinciding in time and in Oporto.”
Francisco George explained that a European network connects the General Managers of all hotels in the EU who are told when cases of Legionnaires Diseases are diagnosed in patients whose history shows that they have travelled within the past fourteen days.
Last year’s outbreak occurred at the beginning of November and originated at a fertiliser plant in Vila Franca de Xira.