Clusters of travel-associated Legionnaires disease in Italy, Spain and France, July 2002 - June 2006.Euro Surveill. 2007 Nov 01; 12(11):E3-4.ES
For several years, over 50% of the cases of travel-associated Legionnaires' disease (TALD) reported to the European Working Group for Legionella Infections (EWGLINET) have been among travellers to France, Italy, and Spain. We describe clusters of TALD cases reported in these countries during a four-year period. We analysed data from EWGLINET and from the individual countries. In all three countries, upon notification of a cluster, local health authorities are alerted by the national collaborator and immediately begin an environmental investigation at the accommodation site, which includes risk assessments and analysis of water samples. From July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2006, 2,101 accommodation sites were associated with TALD cases and reported by EWGLINET to Italian, Spanish and French collaborators. Of these, 252 sites (12%) were associated with clusters: 13.8% (96/697) in Italy, 13.2% (81/615) in Spain and 9.5% (75/789) in France. Overall, 641 cases were reported. Hotels, camping sites and ships and other sites represented respectively 83%, 10% and 7% of the total accommodation sites, with similar proportions in the three countries. In 99% of the sites, samples were collected; 62% of them were found to be positive for Legionella. The findings of this study highlight that disinfection and long-term preventive measures were correctly implemented by the large majority of sites. However, additional efforts must be made to further reduce the percentage of re-offending sites so as to reduce the number of accommodations that are contaminated by Legionella.