Sporadic Legionnaires' disease: the role of domestic electric hot-water tanks
Posted: November 30th, 2011 - 4:22pm
Source: Epidemiology and Infection January 2012 140 : pp 172-181
Sporadic community-acquired legionellosis (SCAL) can be acquired through contaminated aerosols from residential potable water. Electricity-dependent hot-water tanks are widely used in the province of Quebec (Canada) and have been shown to be frequently contaminated with Legionella spp. We prospectively investigated the homes of culture-proven SCAL patients from Quebec in order to establish the proportion of patients whose domestic potable hot-water system was contaminated with the same Legionella isolate that caused their pneumonia. Water samples were collected in each patient's home. Environmental and clinical isolates were compared using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Thirty-six patients were enrolled into the study. Legionella was recovered in 12/36 (33%) homes. The residential and clinical isolates were found to be microbiologically related in 5/36 (14%) patients. Contaminated electricity-heated domestic hot-water systems contribute to the acquisition of SCAL. The proportion is similar to previous reports, but may be underestimated.