Legionnaires’ disease in Europe, 2010

Surveillance report
Publication series: Legionnaires’ disease in Europe

This surveillance report is based on Legionnaires’ disease surveillance data collected for 2010. The surveillance is carried out by the European Disease Surveillance Network (ELDSNet) and coordinated by ECDC. The data are from all cases reported from EU Member States, Iceland and Norway; and from all travel-associated cases of Legionnaires disease (TALD).
In 2010, a total of 6 296 cases were notified by EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, yielding an overall notification number of 12.4 per million in inhabitants.

Executive summary

In 2010, a total of 6 296 cases of Legionnaires’ disease were notified by EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, with a 11% increase from 2009. The majority of the cases were community-acquired, while around 20% were travel-associated.

The surveillance activity was carried out by the European Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Network (ELDSNet) and coordinated by ECDC. This is the second annual report presenting the analysis of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) surveillance data in Europe. Data were collected through two different schemes, the first scheme covering all cases of LD reported from ELDSNet members, while the second scheme covers all reported cases of travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease (TALD), including reports from countries outside the EU. This document is therefore the first annual report that includes all reported cases of LD and TALD.

Collecting data on TALD at EU-level is crucial to identify and tackle clusters of Legionnaires’ disease that may not have been identified at a national level, particularly because in Europe, notification rates and laboratory diagnostic practice highly differ among countries.

Legionnaires’ disease is a multisystem disease involving pneumonia. Humans are infected by inhalation of aerosols containing Legionella bacteria. The diagnosis relies on specific laboratory tests, and the disease is considered to be widely underreported, mainly because it is under diagnosed by clinicians and under-notified to national authorities. The ELDSNet should continue its efforts on improving notification in countries where under-ascertainment probably remains quite high, especially by raising awareness, providing laboratory support and training, and evaluating the surveillance systems in place.