14-10, 2014

What is Legionella pneumophila?

Legionnaires disease is (still) a serious problem worldwide. In the Netherlands, it became widely known due to the 1999 contamination at the West-Friese Flora in Bovenkarspel. Over 200 persons were infected and 32 people even died from legionnaires disease; a reason for the Dutch government to prescribe strict rules. However, after many years of research and preventative measures, Legionella pneumophila in drinking water is still an issue.
Every year (2012 and 2013), about 3.000 contaminations are reported at the official bodies. The figure concerns the contamination of high-priority institutions².

Based on information provided by the meld- en informatiecentrum van de Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport, dated 4 February 2014.
² High-priority institutions include hospitals, homes, hotels, holiday parks, etc.

In an article published in NRC newspaper in 2013 (J. Dohmen (2013)) entitled ‘De hotelgast weet van niks’ (Hotel guests have no clue), it was demonstrated that in Europe Legionella pneumophila contaminations are reported on a regular basis: over 12,000 locations were linked with Legionella pneumophila. The NRC was able to acquire a secret list of the European centre for Disease Prevention and Control; the ECDC. The list includes information about hotels, apartments and campsites that have experienced a Legionella pneumophila contamination over the past thirty years. The list indicates European countries such as Turkey, Italy, Germany, England, France and Spain as countries with many locations that had reports of Legionella pneumophila at least once.

In short: there is plenty of work to be done internationally.


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