Cruise party in Legionnaires' scareSeven taken to Swedish hospital

30 July 2007

A cruise liner on which it is feared a group of elderly holidaymakers could have contracted Legionnaires' disease is due to dock in Dover on its return to Britain.

The Black Watch, run by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, will undergo rigorous cleaning to destroy any potential infection.

Seven elderly Britons who were on a cruise around Lapland are still in a Swedish hospital suffering from symptoms of Legionnaires'.

Wendy Hooper-Greenhill, spokeswoman for Fred Olsen, said they were all in a stable condition and are still awaiting the results of medical tests.

The holidaymakers - all aged in their 70s and 80s - were taken to hospital after falling ill with ‘pneumonia-like symptoms’ towards the end of the 17-day cruise.

Medical tests

Ms Hooper-Greenhill said it was impossible to say for certain exactly what the group of five women and two men were suffering from at this stage, or how the illness was caused.

Once the ship docks, it will undergo a ‘deep-cleansing regime’ to ensure that any infection aboard the vessel is killed off, she said.

‘If there is something lurking there, that will certainly knock it on the head,’ she added.

There are currently still about 750 passengers on board, almost all of whom - bar a small group of Irish holidaymakers - are British, and there are also 329 crew members.

The ship had been due to return for a quick turnaround before setting off again and was returning early ‘purely as a precautionary measure’, according to Ms Hooper-Greenhill.

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