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Am J Infect Control. 1993 Feb;21(1):21-7.

Nosocomial legionellosis: a review of pulmonary and extrapulmonary syndromes.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA.


Surgical patients appear to be at highest risk for acquisition of nosocomial Legionella pneumonia; most appear to become infected during respiratory tract manipulation and mechanical ventilation. Although the lungs are the most common site of nosocomial Legionella infection, an important subset of patients have infection at extrapulmonary sites. We describe 22 cases of extrapulmonary legionellosis reported in the literature. Most of these patients were surgical patients; more than half did not have serious underlying illnesses, and only five (23%) were receiving immunosuppressive agents. A total of 13 extrapulmonary sites of infection were reported, many in the absence of clinical pneumonia; these infections included sinusitis, hip wound infection, and prosthetic valve endocarditis. Five patients (23%) had fatal infections; in four of these cases diagnosis of Legionella infection was made after death, underscoring the need for a high index of clinical suspicion. A large percentage of extrapulmonary Legionella infections may result from direct topical exposure of susceptible tissue to contaminated tap water. Use of tap water must be carefully monitored, particularly in dressing changes and bathing of surgical patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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