Legionnaires' disease bacteria
Legionnaires' disease bacteria

Three British nationals have died after contracting Legionnaires' disease while on holiday in Spain. The victims, who were both over 70 years of age, fell ill while at a beachside resort in Calpe in southern Spain.

One of the two died in hospital on Thursday; the other was found dead in a room at the Diamante Beach Hotel, according to a spokesperson from Saga Holidays. Meanwhile, a further three people remain in hospital in Spain. One person was discharged earlier.

A third British national died from Legionnaires' disease on Friday and 14 other people are being treated for the disease, the Valencia regional government said Friday.

"It was reported that a customer who had stayed at the Diamante Beach Hotel in Spain was being treated for pneumonia caused by legionella," a spokesman said.

"When that happened we immediately sent out a scientific expert to Spain and informed our guests there and offered to move them to a different hotel," he added.

"We also contacted people who had stayed at the hotel in the previous month telling them to contact their doctor if they were experiencing flu-like symptoms," he explained.

Of the earlier occupants, it has been confirmed that five people who returned to the UK have contracted the legionella bacteria. A Mirror report indicates four of them have been discharged. The fifth is still in hospital but is responding to treatment.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said they were aware of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Calpe, Spain and also confirmed the deaths. The victims' names, however, have not yet been disclosed.

The AR Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe, where the victims had stayed, has been temporarily closed and the company (Saga Holidays) has moved all its customers to a new hotel, after an expert tested their water samples.

What is Legionnaires' Disease?

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia caused by bacteria and can be contracted when people breathe contaminated water vapor. The mist may come from hot tubs, showers or air-conditioning units for large buildings. The bacterium doesn't spread from person to person. Its symptoms include fever, chills, a cough and sometimes muscle aches and headaches.