According to a press release issued by Rhode Island Hospital, recent research performed at the hospital shows that the criteria established to help determine whether a patient should be tested for Legionnaires’ disease severely underestimate the actual number of Legionnaires’ disease cases treated by doctors. The press release states that more than 40% of Legionnaires’ disease cases could be overlooked if legionella testing is conducted based solely on these guidelines.
Per the press release, recommendations by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS) suggest that a urine antigen legionella test be administered to patients who have been admitted to hospitals with severe pneumonia requiring intensive care, whose illness has not improved with outpatient antibiotics, who have a history of alcohol abuse, who have a history of travel in the previous two weeks, or who have suffered pleural effusion.
The study, according to the press release, examined nearly 4,000 patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of pneumonia in an 18-month period, and found that 35% were tested for Legionnaires’ disease. Of those patients treated for legionellosis, only 22% met the criteria suggesting a legionella test.
Drs. Leonard Mermel and Brian Hollenbeck, two authors of the study, conclude that current guidelines for legionella testing are too narrow, and more comprehensive testing for legionella in patients with pneumonia will improve treating of patients and response by public health officials.
Please Note: The press release from Rhode Island Hospital can be found here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/l-rih092711.php.
This post was developed from the source material provided and is not based upon the experience or opinion of Jules Zacher, Esq.