Subclinical Legionella infection in workers near the source of a large outbreak of Legionnaires disease

J Infect Dis. 2001 Aug 15;184(4):515-8. doi: 10.1086/322049. Epub 2001 Jul 16.


A survey was conducted of exhibitors at a 1999 floral trade show, where a whirlpool spa on display caused a large outbreak of legionnaires disease (LD). In total, 742 exhibitors without LD returned a questionnaire on their whereabouts during the fair and their health afterward and supplied blood samples for the detection of IgM and IgG antibodies against Legionella pneumophila. The exhibitors had higher average antibody levels than did the general population. The closer to the whirlpool that the exhibitors worked, the higher their antibody levels. Both high-normal and high titer levels were found more frequently among workers with more exposure, suggesting that serosurveys among potentially exposed subjects are a valuable tool for outbreak investigation. Some differences in health complaints were observed between the more and less exposed groups, as estimated by the workplace location, but few differences were found between groups with different antibody levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood*
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Exhibitions as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Legionella pneumophila / immunology*
  • Legionella pneumophila / isolation & purification
  • Legionnaires' Disease / epidemiology*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / microbiology
  • Legionnaires' Disease / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Occupations
  • Plants
  • Water Pollution


  • Antibodies, Bacterial