Outbreak of Legionnaires' disease on a cruise ship linked to spa-bath filter stones contaminated with Legionella pneumophila serogroup 5.Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Apr; 134(2):385-91.EI
In January 2003, two cases of Legionnaires' disease associated with a ship's cruise were registered in the database of National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases. A 70-year-old male heavy smoker with mild emphysema contracted the disease during a cruise. Legionella pneumophila serogroup (sg) 5 was isolated from the patient's sputum and the ship's indoor spa. The isolate from the spa matched the patient's isolate by genotyping performed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The second case was in a 73-year-old female. During epidemiological investigation, a third case of Legionnaire's disease in a 71-year-old male was subsequently diagnosed among passengers on the same ship on the following cruise. Environmental investigation revealed that porous natural stones (Maifanshi) in the filters of the spas had harboured L. pneumophila, a phenomenon which has not been reported except in Japan. This is the first documented evidence of L. pneumophila sg 5 infection on a ship and of porous stones as a source of Legionella infection.