Legionnaires’ disease - Annual Epidemiological Report for 2019

Surveillance report
Publication series: Annual Epidemiological Report on Communicable Diseases in Europe
Time period covered: This report is based on data for 2019 retrieved from The European Surveillance System (TESSy) on 12 January 2021.
Cite:

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Legionnaires’ disease. In: ECDC. Annual epidemiological report for 2019. Stockholm: ECDC; 2021.

ECDC’s annual surveillance reports provide a wealth of epidemiological data to support decision-making at the national level. They are mainly intended for public health professionals and policymakers involved in disease prevention and control programmes.

Executive summary

  • Legionnaires’ disease remains an uncommon and mainly sporadic respiratory infection with an overall notification rate in 2019 for the EU/EEA of 2.2 cases per 100 000 population.
  • There is heterogeneity in notification rates between EU/EEA countries, with the highest rate reported by Slovenia (9.4 cases per 100 000 population).
  • The annual notification rate increased in recent years, from 1.4 in 2015 to 2.2 cases per 100 000 population in 2019.
  • There was a marginal decrease of less than 1% in the number of reported cases in 2019, compared with 2018.
  • Four countries (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) accounted for 71% of all notified cases in 2019.
  • Males aged 65 years and above were most affected (8.4 cases per 100 000 population).
  • Only 10% of cases were culture-confirmed (10%) probably meaning that disease caused by Legionella species other than Legionella pneumophila is under-estimated.