Northern Ireland

Pneumococcal disease cases at Harland and Wolff

Harland and Wolff
Image caption Four cases of the disease have been detected among shipyard employees

A bacterial infection that can cause potentially deadly illnesses has broken out at Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) said the pneumococcal disease had been detected in a number of employees.

The bacteria can cause a variety of infections, including pneumonia, meningitis and blood-poisoning.

It is understood four employees have been infected, with tests being carried out on others.

"The Public Health Agency (PHA) is working with the Health & Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) and Port Health colleagues to investigate a cluster outbreak of pneumococcal disease at Harland and Wolff, Belfast," a spokesman for the PHA said.

"A small number of employees working at Harland and Wolff have been confirmed as having pneumococcal disease.

"The PHA is working closely with Harland and Wolff and hygiene advice has been given to employees. Vaccination is being offered to employees working in high risk exposure areas as a preventative measure."

The PHA said there was no wider risk to the public.

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