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Legionnaire’s Disease Hits Holland

March 16, 1999

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ An outbreak of lethal Legionnaires’ disease at a Dutch flower show killed another victim Tuesday, raising the death toll to 10, Dutch media reported.

A government spokeswoman could not immediately confirm the reports of the latest death. The bacterial infection was traced to a flower show in Bovenkarpsel, 40 miles north of Amsterdam.

On Monday, the government confirmed only that five deaths were due to Legionnaires’ disease, although four others who had visited the show since have died. Just over 40 people were believed to have been infected with the pneumonia-like illness.

Government efforts continued to trace visitors of the weeklong Westfriese Flora show, which ended Feb. 28, and establish the exact source of the bacteria. It is believed to have been a fountain which served as a centerpiece of exhibits. Some 80,000 people visited the show.

Several national flower shows are held throughout the western Netherlands each spring, when the $6 billion-per-year Dutch cut flower and bulb industry shows off its wares.

Legionnaires’ disease first was discovered after an outbreak at a 1976 convention of the American Legion in Pennsylvania. The bacteria that are believed to cause the illness are found in soil and grow in air-conditioning ducts, storage tanks and rivers.

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