Published Date: 2012-06-22 20:31:43
Subject: PRO/EDR> Legionellosis - USA (02): (Maryland)
Archive Number: 20120622.1178048
LEGIONELLOSIS - USA (02): (MARYLAND)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 20 Jun 2012
Source: WMDT.com [edited]
The Worcester County Health Department confirms an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at an Ocean City condo complex. We're told 2 unrelated individuals came down with the bacterial infection. And after an investigation, health officials found both people stayed at the Sea Watch Condominiums within the past 9 months.
A water test confirmed the bacterium [_Legionella pneumophila_] is now present in the facility's water system. The Sea Watch is a complex of private and rental properties, and management has notified all guests about the risk of exposure to the _Legionella_ bacteria. The health department says guests should use their best judgment whether to stay or leave.
"_Legionella_ is a bacterium that's common in the environment," explains Debra Stevens with the Worcester County Health Department. "And it's not uncommon to be found in a water system in a building. But really, the important thing is that if you develop symptoms of pneumonia, that you seek medical attention immediately."
Experts say the bacterium is common, but catching it is not. You can't get it from someone else. It's spread solely from direct contact through the water source. And it's usually breathed in a mist form, like in a hot tub setting, or as droplets from a shower head.
If you are infected with the _Legionella_ bacteria, you should show symptoms within 2 weeks of your exposure. So, if you stayed at the Sea Watch within the past 9 months and didn't get sick, there should be no reason to be concerned.
Legionnaires' [disease] can be deadly for some people. People who smoke, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are especially susceptible. If you have symptoms, health experts say seek medical attention. The infection is treatable with common antibiotics.
At the recommendation of the health department, the Sea Watch is now working with a water consultant to fix the problem. And the health department will return after that's completed to retest the facility.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[Legionnaires' disease is the acute pneumonic form of legionellosis; more than 70 percent of cases of Legionnaires' disease are due to _L. pneumophila_ serogroup 1, except in Australia and New Zealand, where _L. pneumophila_ serogroup 1 has accounted for only 45.7 percent of cases of community-acquired legionellosis, and _Legionella longbeachae_ has accounted for 30.4 percent of cases (Yu VL, et al: Distribution of _Legionella_ species and serogroups isolated by culture in patients with sporadic community-acquired legionellosis: An international collaborative survey. J Infect Dis. 2002; 186(1): 127-8. Available at http://www.legionella.org/lp_distribution.pdf). The news report above does not say how the diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease was made, nor what the species of _Legionella_ was implicated in the 2 cases in Ocean City, Maryland.
Genotyping of patient and environmental isolates has become a helpful tool to establish transmission pathways. The predominance of one genotype of _Legionella_ isolated from patient specimens would suggest transmission from a common source. Because _Legionella_ may be found in environmental samples without linkage to any cases of legionellosis, the actual causative infectious reservoir can be confirmed by matching the genotype of clinical and environmental isolates (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86783/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730281/). However, clinical isolates are often not available because the clinical diagnosis of Legionnaires' disease is commonly made on the basis of serology or the _Legionella_ urinary antigen test, and not culture of patient specimens.
Ocean City is an Atlantic Ocean resort town in Worcester County, Maryland, and is a frequent destination for vacationers in that area, with a population of 7102 (2010 census) that swells to between 320 000 and 345 000 vacationers during summer weekends (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_City,_Maryland). For a map of Ocean City, Maryland, see https://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&oe=UTF-8&q=ocean+city+maryland.
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1DmA. - Mod.ML
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1DmA.]