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Euro Surveill. 2008 Sep 18;13(38). pii: 18983.

Changes in prevention and outbreak management of Legionnaires disease in the Netherlands between two large outbreaks in 1999 and 2006.

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Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst (GGD) Amsterdam (Public Health Service Amsterdam) Department of Infectious Diseases, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


We describe an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in 2006 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Comparisons with the outbreak that took place in 1999 are made to evaluate changes in legionella prevention and outbreak management. The 2006 outbreak was caused by a wet cooling tower. Thirty-one patients were reported. The outbreak was detected two days after the first patient was admitted to hospital, and the source was eliminated five days later. The 1999 outbreak was caused by a whirlpool at a flower show, and 188 patients were reported. This outbreak was detected 14 days after the first patient was admitted to hospital, and two days later the source was traced. Since 1999, the awareness of legionellosis among physicians, the availability of a urinary antigen tests and more efficient early warning and communication systems improved the efficiency of legionellosis outbreak management. For prevention, extensive legislation with clear responsibilities has been put in place. For wet cooling towers, however, legislation regarding responsibility and supervision of maintenance needs to be improved.

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