A case of Legionnaires' disease caused by aspiration of ice water

Arch Environ Occup Health. Nov-Dec 2005;60(6):302-6. doi: 10.3200/AEOH.60.6.302-306.


The authors discuss the case of a 79-year-old patient who suffered from a swallowing disorder and developed Legionnaires' disease 2 days after her dismissal from an orthopedics ward, where she had recovered from hip surgery. To determine the source of the Legionnaires' disease, the authors performed an environmental investigation, which included a national, standardized questionnaire and a microbiological investigation of suspected sources. The investigation revealed ice from an ice-making machine in the hospital as the most probable source of the infection through aspiration, even though the hospital had rigorously adhered to strict assessment and decontamination schedules. The infectious serogroup was one that was not common to the area. From the data available, the authors inferred that a dose of 1-2000 colony-forming units might have caused Legionnaires' disease in this patient.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross Infection / etiology
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • Deglutition Disorders / complications
  • Equipment Contamination
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Fresh Water / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Ice*
  • Legionella / isolation & purification*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / etiology*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / microbiology
  • Legionnaires' Disease / transmission*
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Water Supply


  • Ice