Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Northern Portugal Declared Over
In a follow-up on the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the North Region of Portugal, health authorities have declared the outbreak over, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The outbreak in Póvoa de Varzim, Vila do Conde and Matosinhos counties, which began in late October, resulted in a total of 88 cases, including 15 deaths.
The source of exposure has not been identified.
Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment. Water containing legionella can be aerosolized through cooling towers, showers, hot tubs, and decorative fountains, and can cause Legionnaire’s disease, a serious lung infection (pneumonia) when inhaled. Legionnaires’ disease is not passed from person to person. Illnesses are most commonly associated with buildings or structures that have complex water systems like hotels, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and cruise ships. The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow and spread in human-made water systems, like hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems, and decorative fountains. Most healthy people do not get Legionnaires’ disease after being exposed to Legionella bacteria.