Legionnaires’ outbreak at Ohio hospital

Legionella test

At a newly-opened hospital in Ohio in the US, at least 16 patients have been diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease, one of whom has died.

The hospital’s President Sean McKibben said in a statement that the outbreak occurred due to inadequate disinfection of the hot water system prior to the hospital’s opening. He said that a permanent supplemental disinfection system with constant monitoring and controls has been installed.

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia that can be caught by inhaling Legionella bacteria. There are no vaccines that can prevent the disease; prevention depends on building owners and managers maintaining building water systems to reduce the risk of the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria.

The disease requires prompt treatment with antibiotics for at least seven days so travellers experiencing symptoms of infection should seek medical advice quickly. This applies up to two weeks after travel.