Legionnaires' Disease Cases at a Large Community Hospital—Common and Underdiagnosed

Jamie Spiegelman, Theresa Pedutem, Mary June Francisco
2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Legionnaires' disease (LD) is a severe pneumonia with a mortality rate of about 10%. The illness remains largely underdiagnosed with outbreaks occurring with alarming incidence. In this study, we assessed the frequency of Legionnaires' disease among pneumonia cases treated at a large community hospital over a summer season. We invited all admitted patients diagnosed with pneumonia, able to provide a urine sample for an antigen test, presenting from May to October 2018, to enroll in our study;
more » ... oll in our study; 35 patients were tested for the presence of Legionella. Out of 33 patients tested, 9 (28%) were positive for Legionella. Three sets of the 9 Legionella cases exhibited spatiotemporal clustering indicative of LD outbreaks. Only one of the 9 Legionella UAT-positive patients presented a sporadic case of LD. The number of pneumonia cases in our community confirmed to be LD was strikingly high (28%), compared to other survey studies that report between 3.7% and 14%. These results are consistent with previous knowledge that LD is underdiagnosed and support that routine testing should be considered for all possible LD cases, particularly in the summer months. Such testing is likely to prevent further cases of community acquired LD.
doi:10.3390/ijerph17010332 pmid:31947755 fatcat:yeq3imcpfbgbhphezewdwaeleq