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Euro Surveill. 2012 Feb 23;17(8). pii: 20097.

Wellness centres: an important but overlooked source of Legionnaires disease. Eight years of source investigation in the Netherlands, 1 August 2002 to 1 August 2010.

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  • 1Regional Public Health Laboratory Kennemerland, Haarlem, the Netherlands.


Visiting wellness centres is considered safe and relaxing and might provide health benefits for visitors with certain cardiovascular, dermatological or respiratory diseases. On the other hand, wellness centres could pose health risks, especially with respect to Legionnaires’ disease. We investigated the role of wellness centres in the occurrence of Legionnaires’ disease by analysing the data of eight years (2002–2010) of source investigation in the Netherlands. There were 15 wellness centres identified as potential sources of infection for a total of 35 Legionnaires’ disease patients. Twelve of these centres were positive for Legionella spp.: six for Legionella pneumophila, six for non-pneumophila Legionella spp.. Of the 65 positive environmental samples found during the wellness centre investigations, 41 were derived from shower heads. For two centres, the Legionella pneumophila strains in the collected samples had a genotype that was indistinguishable from the patient isolates. These results show that wellness centres are potential sources of Legionnaires’ disease.

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