More cases of Legionnaires’ disease in 2017
In 2017, a total of 278 patients with Legionnaires’ disease were reported to Statens Serum Institut. This is a 65% increase compared with the previous year.
Legionnaires’ disease (legionella pneumonia) is a special type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella pneumophila bacterium.
Legionnaires’ disease is more prevalent in elderly and debilitated persons. The condition may arise when a person inhale aerosolised water contaminated with the bacterium. Thereby, the bacterium enters the lungs and may cause pneumonia.
Legionella thrive in lukewarm and stagnant water. Infection may spread from aerosolized water from many different types of water installations, outdoors mainly from cooling towers. Nevertheless, in Denmark infection probably occurs more frequently from people’s own water supply.
In 2017, a total of 278 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were notified, of whom one fourth had become infected during travels abroad. The increase in the number of cases is considerable and follows a general increase in the number of cases observed in the period from 2012 to 2016.