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J Hosp Infect. 2002 Mar;50(3):213-9.

Control of nosocomial Legionnaires' disease by keeping the circulating hot water temperature above 55 degrees C: experience from a 10-year surveillance programme in a district general hospital.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Ryhov Hospital, Jönköping, Sweden.


After a nosocomial outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in a 450-bed district general hospital in 1991, the circulating hot water temperature was kept above 55 degrees C as the sole control measure. From 1991 to 2000, all cases of nosocomial pneumonia were clinically monitored and tested for Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 by serology or urinary antigen detection. Water samples from peripheral tap sites were cultured for Legionella spp. twice a year. An infection with L. pneumophila serogroup 1 was diagnosed in four out of 366 (1.1%) patients treated for nosocomial pneumonia, representing one case per 26,000 admissions. All patients were cured without complications. L. pneumophila serogroup 1 was isolated in 30 of 251 (12%) cultured hospital water samples during the monitoring period. We conclude that control of nosocomial Legionnaires' disease in a primary referral hospital is possible by keeping the circulating hospital hot water temperature above 55 degrees C, together with careful clinical surveillance. Complete eradication of Legionella spp. from the hot water system does not seem necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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