A government statement said the three, aged between 73 and 78, had contracted the disease at a hotel in the eastern town of Calpe. The statement said a further 10 Britons and four Spaniards were being treated for the disease.
The U.K.-based company Saga Holidays reported the first two deaths Thursday, saying the Britons had stayed at the Diamante Beach Hotel in Calpe. The names of the three victims were not released. The Valencia government said authorities have taken measures to control the outbreak, including closing the hotel.
Saga Holidays said it learned Jan. 14 that one of its customers was being treated for pneumonia caused by the Legionnaires’ bacteria and it then began moving customers to other hotels. Paul Green, head of communications, said customers who had stayed at the hotel previously were contacted, and five people who recently stayed there were treated in British hospitals with all but one later discharged.
Legionnaires’ disease is named for an outbreak at an American Legion convention in 1976 where 34 people died. It is caused by a bacterium most often found in sources of standing water and can be contracted by breathing air contaminated by the bacterium.
The elderly and people with weak immune systems or lung problems are most susceptible.