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26 May 2017 Inverness man survives brush with death after contracting Legionnaires' Disease during Thailand break

posted 30 May 2017, 00:44 by Ian Clarenbone   [ updated 30 May 2017, 00:55 ]

A holidaymaker who survived a brush with death after contracting Legionnaires’ Disease is now recovering at home.

Inverness businessman Kevin Dick’s condition was described as “touch and go” at one point as he battled the potentially fatal infection, which only began to take hold as he returned home from his holiday in Thailand.

The 54-year-old, a sales manager with power generation company Aggreko, started feeling ill on a return flight to Heathrow Airport almost a fortnight ago, after spending two weeks on the island of Ko Samui.

Now recovering at home in the Drakies area of the city, he was still too ill to speak this week.

However, his wife Linda, who owns Inverness salon The Hair Directory, said it was a frightening experience to go through.

“We were about an hour away from landing in London when he started to say he wasn’t feeling well and then after we landed he didn’t want anything to eat or drink, I put it down to the long flight and him being tired, but by the time we got home he was worse and went straight to bed.”

Even then, she said, they both thought it was just flu and it wasn’t until last Tuesday morning May 16 that they eventually decided he had to go to hospital.

“He got up at about 6.30am and was sweating very badly. He’d also had an upset stomach that just wasn’t getting better,” she said. “I took him to Raigmore Hospital and he was admitted as an emergency case.”

Initially diagnosed with pneumonia, further tests revealed he had contracted Legionnaires’ Disease, a severe lung infection usually caught by breathing in small droplets of contaminated water and which can lead to life-threatening problems, impacting on the proper working of organs and even leading to septic shock.

“At one point his temperature rose to more than 40 degrees and wasn’t coming down at all,” said Linda. “He wasn’t unconscious at any point but he wasn’t fully with things a lot of the time either.

“Kevin had a serious heart attack about 10 years ago but in a lot of ways this was worse – I think because it was a condition we didn’t really know anything about and even at the hospital some of the staff were saying they hadn’t dealt with it before.”

Linda and Kevin are frequent visitors to Thailand, with this latest trip to the country being their sixth, and Linda insists the incident won’t put them off.