The death toll from Legionnaires’ disease rose to 16 in southeastern Poland, near the Ukrainian border


WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The death toll from Legionnaires’ disease in Poland has risen to 16 and another 140 people have been infected in the southeastern region near the border with Ukraine, health authorities said Wednesday.

Rzeszow, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the border, is a major transit hub for international military support to Ukraine following last year’s large-scale Russian invasion. About 10,000 US soldiers are stationed in the region.

Authorities said the deaths from the disease were among the elderly who also suffered from other health problems such as cancer.

Lab tests She confirmed the presence of Legionnaires’ disease in the city’s water pipe system. The authorities are still searching for the source of the injuries, which recorded unprecedented numbers in the region. The Homeland Security Agency is also checking for any signs of malicious action.

Experts say it could come from rarely used plumbing, where germs can spread at high temperatures during the recent heat wave.

The water system in Rzeszow was chlorinated over the weekend to disinfect it.

Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection caused by inhaling contaminated water droplets. It is not spread through drinking water.

They are usually detected in places such as hotels, hospitals or offices where the bacteria have got into the water supply, for example in air conditioning systems or taps and showers that are not used frequently. The spores reproduce at temperatures between 20 and 50°C (68-122°F). The disease is treated with antibiotics.

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