One of the major highlights of the year was SPL’s presence at the Eighth International Conference on Legionella in Australia. Dr. Janet Stout was honored to speak and our doctoral student, Julianne Baron, presented posters on SPL’s monochloramine study and DNA sequencing. Here are a few highlights from Dr. Stout about the latest research on Legionnaires’ disease.

Clinical presentation of Legionnaires’ disease

More is being learned about the clinical presentation of Legionnaires’ disease. Dr. Paul Edelstein, University of Pennsylvania, who spoke on this topic noted:

  • Patients often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after recovery from pneumonia caused by Legionella.
  • Risk of death highest for community-acquired infection in immunocompromised followed by healthcare-acquired infections.

Increased Outbreaks

Another notable topic was the increasing number of outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease over the past several years. Jacque Corbeil, Laval University, Canada, reported on the outbreak in Quebec in which 182 cases identified with 13 fatalities:  

  •     24% of the 160 cooling towers tested were positive
  •     Multiple strains of L. pneumophila identified, including six different sequence types
  •     Disease causing strain was isolated from a small cooling tower in downtown Quebec

Stagnation and Copper Levels

A Canadian study assessed hot water from 50 water taps in two hospitals for indicators of risk for Legionella amplification. Dr. Michele Prévost, University of Montreal, Canada,reported no increase with stagnation. This was likely due to increased copper levels, which are inhibitory.