Legionnaires’ disease in England and Wales in 2016

  • Public Health England

  • from Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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In 2016, 359 confirmed and presumptive cases of Legionellosis were reported to the National Surveillance Scheme for Legionnaires’ disease among residents of England and Wales.

The new figures show that over the 3-year period 2014 to 2016, the incidence rate in England and Wales reached a mean of 6.1 cases per million population (pmp). As in 2015, peak incidence was reported in the East Midlands (9.1 pmp) followed by the West Midlands (7.5 pmp).

Of the 355 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease, 56.9% were considered to have been exposed to the infecting organism in the community. Just over 40% of cases were associated with travel abroad and 1.7% were considered to be nosocomial, which is half the rate seen in 2015.

Spain remains the destination most frequently travelled to by cases of Legionnaires’ disease during 2016, with 28 cases having travelled to Spain during the incubation period of 2-10 days, with an incidence rate of 1.9 cases per million visits. This was followed by travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where 24 cases had travelled. However, the incidence rate of cases per visit to UAE was more than 10 times the rate in Spain, at 26.0 cases per million visits.

The crude case fatality rate in cases with onset of symptoms in 2016 was 7.0%. This is the first evidence of a linear decrease in trend between the year of onset and case fatality.

There was also a decrease in the total number of outbreaks, from 37 in 2015 to 25 in 2016. The greatest difference between the 2 years was in the number of incidents associated with travel abroad which almost halved from 19 clusters/outbreaks in 2015 to 10 identified in 2016.