Health authorities are investigating an outbreak of pneumonia in Northern Italy which may have been caused by contaminated water supplies.
Cases have been detected in an area about 100 to 120 kilometres east of Milan and stretching up to 60 kilometres south of Lake Garda, a popular resort for German tourists.
Since the start of the month, there have been 138 pneumonia patients in hospitals in the provinces of Brescia and Mantua, a regional health authority spokesperson Loredana Bello told dpa on Monday.
READ ALSO Flood ravages 400 houses in Kudu
Two people were diagnosed with legionellosis, a severe form of pneumonia caused by the water-borne Legionella bacteria, the spokesperson added.
“We are working really hard to try to ascertain the origin of the pneumonia cases,’’ Regional Health Commissioner Giulio Gallera wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
More than 52 water quality checks in public aqueducts and private homes have been conducted and results are expected in the coming days, Gallera said in interviews with RAI state broadcaster.
Meanwhile, local residents have been urged to take precautions, including cleaning filters on faucets and avoiding taking showers with windows closed.
Legionella-infected water is dangerous if breathed in, and this could happen if mist from a hot shower is not dispersed by fresh air.
Drinking it is OK, as there is no direct contact with lungs.