Emergencies preparedness, response

2001 - Legionellosis in Spain

12 July 2001

Disease Outbreak Reported

As of 11 July, the National Centre for Epidemiology, Spain, has reported a total of 470 cases of suspected legionellosis in Murcia. One-hundred-seventy-eight of these cases have been laboratory confirmed, and the first case was hospitalized on 1 July. One patient, a 65-year-old male, has died. No cases have been reported among tourists.

The majority of cases are residents in the northern neighborhoods of the city. It is suspected that local cooling towers, several of which are present in these neighborhoods, are the most likely source of infection, however other possible sources are being investigated.

A detailed investigation by the health authorities and environmental sampling are presently being conducted.

Legionellosis is a bacterial disease. Humans are infected by inhaling small droplets or particles contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Control measures focus on eliminating the source of the infectious particles. The infection is not transmitted from person-to-person.

For additional information about legionellosis, please see the following web sites at our partner institutions: