Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease Linked to Hospital's Decorative Fountain

Researchers discovered that a hospital's decorative fountain, which was located in a public area, was associated with an outbreak of Legionnaires disease, according to research published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

An outbreak of Legionnaires disease among patients and visitors to a Wisconsin hospital occurred from February-March 2010, resulting in eight confirmed patients diagnosed with Legionnaires disease. To determine the source of the outbreak, researchers interviewed patients and sampled water and other potential environmental sources for Legionella testing.


Researchers discovered that six patients were exposed to a decorative fountain near the hospital's main entrance. Despite routine cleaning and maintenance, the fountain had high counts of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1. The researchers concluded routine maintenance and cleaning may not be sufficient in eliminating bacteria and ongoing safety evaluation is necessary for water fountains in healthcare facilities.

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