Legionnaires' disease outbreak kills 24 in Poland

Leszek Szymański/PAP

The death toll from an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that has gripped the south-eastern city Rzeszow since late August has risen to 24, health authorities said on Tuesday.

The latest victim of the deadly bacterium was a 91-year-old female patient at Rzeszow's Podkarpackie Centre for Lung Diseases .

Andrzej Sroka, the hospital spokesman, said that the woman who had died was being treated for other medical conditions. 

The health authorities are still trying to determine the source of the contamination.

Legionnaires' disease, caused by the Legionella bacterium, is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person, but can multiply in water and air-conditioning systems. Older adults, smokers and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the disease.

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