Fourth Legionella death outbreak now affects 44

A third person was reported to have died this morning as the Legionella outbreak at a Lisbon hospital was said to be “entering its countdown phase”. Within a matter hours, this third fatality was followed by a fourth.

Director general of health Graça Freitas announced the third death this (Friday) morning, saying the evolution of this outbreak should become “under control” within the next few days.

With the subsequent death of a fourth victim, the number of patients battling symptoms in intensive care has reduced to two.

The third fatality was “a woman (aged 68) and she died at Hospital S. Francisco Xavier” – the hospital believed to be the source of this outbreak.

The fourth was also a woman, explained TVI24, aged 97.

Both these latest victims of the outbreak had other health issues, said the station, while tabloid Correio da Manhã reserved its “Valiant Nation” commentary this morning to a critique of the way in which the authorities have dealt with this latest example of what columnist João Pereira Coutinho calls “criminal incompetence”.

As he points out: “The hospital where no-one knows where the centre of contamination is remains open – and whatever will be, will be”.

Coutinho refers to the outrage of families of the first two victims over the way their loved-ones’ funerals were delayed.

In one case, the ‘velório’ (wake) was underway when Public Ministry officials suddenly turned up to remove the dead body for autopsy.

Following on from the terrible deaths in last summer’s fires, Coutinho suggests that “the grotesque is becoming banal” and that the country is slowly being anaethetised to view abnormality “as it if it was normal”.

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