23 Aug, 2022 @ 16:15
2 mins read

British expat fights for life after catching Legionnaires’ disease in mystery outbreak in Mijas on Spain’s Costa del Sol

Costa Del Sol Hospital
Hospital Costa del Sol (SOURCE: Junta de Andalucia)

A BRITISH expat is fighting for his life after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease on Mijas in Spain’s Costa del Sol.

Richard Dickman, 80, was rushed to Marbella’s Costa del Sol hospital after being diagnosed with the potentially lethal disease.

At least two more people have also been affected by the outbreak, the hospital confirmed on Tuesday.

Dickman’s family believe he caught the bacterial infection near his home in La Cala de Mijas and have appealed to the Olive Press to try and identify the source.

His daughter confirmed that at least one other patient is also being treated at the same hospital, while a further outbreak happened in Almeria last week.

“He started to feel sick on August 12 at home, and after collapsing he was admitted to hospital four days later,” she told the Olive Press this week.

“Amazingly, he received four visits from a private ambulance service before it was confirmed.”

She added that her dad, who has lived in Spain for a decade, hadn’t ‘been to a lot of places’ before contracting it so it should be possible to trace the outbreak.

Costa Del Sol Hospital
A British expat is fighting for his life after contracting Legionnaires Disease on Mijas in Spain’s Costa del Sol. Image Junta de Andalucia

She knows one other neighbour who also contracted the illness and is being treated at the same hospital.

“I believe he contracted it around La Cala,” she insisted. “It would be good to know where and to stop others from picking it up.”

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia – lung inflammation usually caused by infection. It’s caused by a bacteria known as legionella, often from stagnant water.

She is particularly angry that he had received a visit from a doctor from a private medical service four times before being admitted to hospital.

And she is also very concerned about his health because he is ‘not getting better’.

“I can’t see any improvements in my dad’s health, it’s very worrying,” she said.

It is not the first case of Legionnaires’ detected at the Hospital Costa del Sol over the last few weeks.

“We have detected more cases and the Spanish Ministry of Health is currently investigating it.” a press officer confirmed to the Olive Press.

One person has already died in Caceres, Extremadura, this summer, while four more are currently being treated in hospital.

The Spanish Health Ministry is currently investigating where the outbreak started.

The first outbreak in Europe took place in a Benidorm hotel in 1980 – when half of the guests, around 150 people, got sick with four of them dying.

The guests picked up the illness from piped water.

One person died, a 68-year-old journalist, and 14 others were hospitalised after an outbreak at Benalmadena ice rink in 2007.


Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge Hinojosa Mena was born and bred in Madrid before moving to the UK to study. After an undergraduate degree in Manchester, he completed an MA in International Journalism at City. He has worked in radio and for Spain’s Efe news agency before joining the Olive Press in March 2022. Contact: Jorge@theolivepress.es

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