Investigation of a cluster of Legionella pneumophila infections among staff at a federal research facility

Mil Med. 2001 Sep;166(9):753-8.


An epidemiologic investigation was conducted in response to a case of Legionella pneumonia in a scientist working at a federal research facility. A survey of 80 individuals working at the facility revealed that 13 (16%) had sustained prior infections with Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lps1) as measured by anti-Lps1 antibodies. Antibody-positive individuals' offices clustered around an air cooling tower and a heating, ventilation, and air conditioner unit (odds ratio = 5). On multivariate logistic regression analysis, individuals of non-white race (adjusted odds ratio = 8) and smokers (adjusted odds ratio = 36) were also found to be at higher risk of past infection. Marked Legionella growth was noted in the cooling tower's water reservoir and potable hot water system, where suboptimal operating temperatures were noted. Subsequent increase in the hot water temperatures as well as a complete renovation of the affected building's air handling and potable water systems led to a reduction in Legionella species colonization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Conditioning
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Legionnaires' Disease / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Space-Time Clustering
  • Water Microbiology*
  • Water Supply / analysis*