An 81-year-old woman suffering from abdominal pain and shortness of breath was admitted to Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong on March 3, 2011, and on April 2, 2011 she tested positive for legionella pneumophila. When the diagnosis of LD was confirmed, QMH immediately acted to aid the investigation into the source of the infection and to prevent additional cases of LD. All 17 patients in ward C4, where the afflicted patient had stayed, were examined; six of these had developed a fever and were consequently tested for Legionnaires’ Disease, with negative results. Furthermore, the supply of fresh water into ward C4 has been halted until deemed safe, and parts of water supply equipment in ward C4, including shower heads and certain associated hoses in the toilets, have been replaced. Finally, boiled water is now being used to rinse mouths of immunocompromised patients. Clinical staff are asked to remain alert for symptoms of LD for the sake of early diagnosis and treatment.
This incident in Hong Kong resembles another recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease, namely the one that occurred at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. It is interesting to note that preventative measures were immediately implemented in Hong Kong to curb the risk of further infection, and while similar steps were taken in Dayton, they were not put in place until after the fourth confirmed case, 19 days after the first patient was diagnosed.