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Epidemiological survey of a major outbreak of nosocomial legionellosis

International Journal of Epidemiology 16(3): 466-471
Epidemiological survey of a major outbreak of nosocomial legionellosis
Forty-seven nosocomial cases of legionellosis due to Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 were diagnosed in one major outbreak from November 1982 to March 1983 in a 960-bed teaching hospital. Contaminated water was considered to be a possible source of infection because, during that period, monthly samples were found to be positive with averages of 10(4) CFU/l. After chlorination of hot water associated with flushing of outlets, nearly all samples taken in the next two years were found to be negative. A case-control study was performed to examine potential risk factors. Three groups of controls were randomly selected among eligible patients. In a multivariate analysis, only three clinical factors were found to be associated with legionellosis patients: malignant illness (relative risk, RR = 3.5), presence of an ultimately fatal disease (RR = 2.6), and exposure to corticosteroids prior to admission (RR = 7.9). Investigations of in-hospital exposures suggest that during this nosocomial outbreak diagnostic or therapeutic respiratory procedures had not increased the risk of illness. Although the epidemiological association between water contamination and disease remains unclear, the eradication of L. pneumophila from the identified supply seems to have been effective in preventing disease in this hospital.

Accession: 005375687

PMID: 3667049

DOI: 10.1093/ije/16.3.466

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