Clusters of travel associated legionnaires' disease in France, September 2001- August 2003

Euro Surveill. 2004 Feb;9(2):12-3. doi: 10.2807/esm.09.02.00446-en.


Clusters of travel associated legionnaires' disease warrant urgent attention, and are detected by the French national surveillance system and the European network EWGLINET. Between September 2001 and August 2003, 37 clusters were identified in French tourist accommodation: 27 hotels and 10 campsites. The number of clinical cases per cluster was as follows: 30 clusters of 2 cases (81%), 6 clusters of 3 cases (16%) and one cluster of 4 cases (3%), a total of 82 cases. The local health authorities performed environmental investigations for 36 of the 37 clusters. Among the 36 clusters investigated, water samples were collected for 35. At 16 (46%) sites, Legionella pneumophila was found at a level of more than 103 cfu/litre. In all of the accommodation where risk assessment was found to be inadequate- control measures were implemented immediately. Six hotels were closed immediately following cluster alerts. Comparison of clinical and environmental isolates by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was possible in 3 clusters and identical genomic profiles of the isolates were found in all. During this two year period of surveillance, we found that on many sites there has been a risk of exposure to Legionella. This reinforces the importance of the European surveillance network and the timely notifications of all the cases to EWGLINET.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Notification
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Legionella pneumophila / isolation & purification
  • Legionnaires' Disease / epidemiology*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / transmission
  • Population Surveillance
  • Travel*
  • Water Microbiology