In a previous post, we discussed the origins and very early beginnings of Legionnaires’ disease. In this post, we are hoping to slowly move through time and discuss some significant outbreaks and moments of Legionnaires’ disease history. Perhaps the first major outbreak after the 1976 Philadelphia incident would be with Stafford, England. In April 1985, approximately 175 people were admitted into the Kingsmead Stafford Hospital with pneumonia. Of these cases, around 28 individuals ended up dying with the origin of the infection being discovered to be the Stafford District Hospital.
About a decade later, in March 1999, the Bovenkarspel legionellosis outbreak occurred in the Netherlands. This was during the Westfriese Flora flower exhibit and involved 318 individuals contacting the illness and 32 people dying, making this incident the second-deadliest outbreak since the original 1976 outbreak. The largest outbreak, however, was in July 2001 in Murcia, Spain, where there were in fact over 800 suspected cases although luckily only six individuals passed away.
In September 2005, a nursing home in Canada experienced a large outbreak involving 127 residents at a nursing home. Within a single week, 21 of these residents would pass away with the source of the outbreak eventually being traced back to the cooling towers on the roof of the building. From there, there are a few cases which we have covered on this site over the past few years, including that of Legionella in Portugal, the outbreak in the housing development in the Bronx, as well as clearly the cases which continue to be discovered from the Flint water crisis and the Quincy, Illinois Veterans Home.
It is worth highlighting that in fact, a good portion of cases are not involved with outbreaks but are sporadic cases where an individual becomes infected. In addition, this review of various outbreaks is not and cannot be an exhaustive list of the full history of Legionnaires’ disease. Rather this review simply serves to ideally inform individuals of the long history of Legionnaires’ disease and how it can become present in various situations.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.