European authorities warn of pneumonia epidemic in the Canaries

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued a warning a real epidemic is at risk after 13 Swedish and Norwegian holiday-makers were taken ill with life-threatening pneumonia in Gran Canaria, says a Daily Express report. The watchdog urged tourists to be vigilant when travelling as the bug poses a significant threat to Europe should patients be transferred between hospitals from the area and in their home countries.

The ECDC warns of a “high risk of spreading and outbreaks if the traveller gets it, but it is not detected, and then is admitted to hospital once back home” after visiting the island that boasted an eye-watering 15m tourists in 2016 alone. The ECDC has urged all hospitals within the EU to verify where a patient showing pneumonia symptoms has travelled from at the time of their admission onto a ward for treatment.

The report says the outbreak began this January after tourists from Sweden and Norway were infected with the bacteria and flew home to their countries of origin after becoming ill. At the time, the risk of catching the bug was low but after the tourists travelled back to their home Nordic and Scandinavian countries with it instead of seeking medical help in Gran Canaria, the risk has been bumped up to a potential epidemic level.

Authorities are battling to introduce infection control and prevention measures. The tourists travelled to the Canary Islands between New Year and April.

Daily Express report

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