[Legionnaires' disease in travellers].Bull Soc Pathol Exot. 1998; 91(5 Pt 1-2):486-9.BS
The outbreak of pneumonia involving delegates to the 1976 American Legion convention at a Philadelphia hotel was the first example of travel-associated legionnaires' disease. Travel is now well known as a common risk factor for legionnaires' disease. This travel-associated disease is a preoccupation among European countries because of morbidity among citizens of the European Union. The definition of the case of legionellosis is a patient who presents an acute lower respiratory tract infection with focal signs of pneumonia and/or radiological features, and microbiological evidence of Legionella infection. A case is considered to be travel associated if the patient has spent one or more nights away from home during the ten days before becoming ill. An European Surveillance Scheme for Travel-Associated Legionnaires' Disease was established in 1987 to identify clusters and outbreaks of cases of the disease. This group centralizes the case reports of twenty-nine collaborating centres in twenty-five countries. Outbreaks of legionnaires' disease were described in hotels, camps or cruise ships. In 1996, the number of travel-associated cases of legionnaires' disease represented 16% of the total number cases. The increase of the number of reported cases may reflect improved surveillance and increased ascertainment. In Europe in 1996, the diagnosis of legionellosis was confirmed by detection of Legionella pneumophila sero-group 1 antigen in urine (36%), seroconversion (fourfold rise in antibody titre, 33%) and culture of the organism (16%). Fifteen per cent of legionellosis was diagnosed by the identification of a single high antibody titre. In France a coordination between Public Health Institutions (Réseau National de Santé Public and DDASS), clinicians, laboratories and National Reference Center was established to improve prevention and control of legionnaires' disease outbreaks. Legislation obliges to report each case. When more two cases in the same area are notified an epidemiological investigation must be done. The knowing of the source of the contamination and its eradication allows to prevent new cases and outbreaks. Outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease are even now mediatic and this fact leads to maintain attention for the quality of diagnosis and epidemiology investigation due to touristic and economic consequences for the implicated countries.