Report about the largest outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Germany to date
Eurosurveillance, Volume 20, Issue 46, 19 November 2015
Table of Contents
During the 2009/10 pandemic, a national surveillance system for severe influenza cases was set up in France. We present results from the system's first four years. All severe influenza cases admitted to intensive care units (ICU) were reported to the Institut de Veille Sanitaire using a standardised form: data on demographics, immunisation and virological status, risk factors, severity (e.g. acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) onset, mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal life support) and outcome. Multivariate analysis was performed to identify factors associated with ARDS and death. The number of confirmed influenza cases varied from 1,210 in 2009/10 to 321 in 2011/12. Most ICU patients were infected with A(H1N1)pdm09, except during the 2011/12 winter season when A(H3N2)-related infections predominated. Patients' characteristics varied according to the predominant strain. Based on multivariate analysis, risk factors associated with death were age ≥ 65 years, patients with any of the usual recommended indications for vaccination and clinical severity. ARDS occurred more frequently in patients who were middle-aged (36–55 years), pregnant, obese, or infected with A(H1N1)pdm09. Female sex and influenza vaccination were protective. These data confirm the persistent virulence of A(H1N1)pdm09 after the pandemic and the heterogeneity of influenza seasons, and reinforce the need for surveillance of severe influenza cases.
Between 1 August and 6 September 2013, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) with 159 suspected cases occurred in Warstein, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The outbreak consisted of 78 laboratory-confirmed cases of LD, including one fatality, with a case fatality rate of 1%. Legionella pneumophila, serogroup 1, subtype Knoxville, sequence type 345, was identified as the epidemic strain. A case–control study was conducted to identify possible sources of infection. In univariable analysis, cases were almost five times more likely to smoke than controls (odds ratio (OR): 4.81; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.33–9.93; p < 0.0001). Furthermore, cases were twice as likely to live within a 3 km distance from one identified infection source as controls (OR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.09–4.20; p < 0.027). This is the largest outbreak of LD in Germany to date. Due to a series of uncommon events, this outbreak was most likely caused by multiple sources involving industrial cooling towers. Quick epidemiological assessment, source tracing and shutting down of potential sources as well as rapid laboratory testing and early treatment are necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality. Maintenance of cooling towers must be carried out according to specification to prevent similar LD outbreaks in the future.
Voluntary surveillance systems in Germany suggest a recent decline in the incidence of infections (subsequent to at least 2010) with meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from various types of specimens and settings. We asked whether this decline is reflected by data from the mandatory national surveillance system for invasive MRSA infections. Our analysis is based on the population in Germany in 2010 to 2014. Cases were identified from passive reporting by microbiological laboratories of the diagnosis of MRSA from blood culture or cerebrospinal fluid. Respective clinical data were subsequently added to the notification. We calculated risk ratios (RR) between consecutive years, stratifying cases by sex, age and federal state of residence. The national incidence increased from 4.6 episodes per 100,000 persons in 2010 to 5.6 in 2012 (2011 vs 2010: RR: 1.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.08–1.18; 2012 vs 2011: RR: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.04–1.13). It stagnated at 5.4 per 100,000 in 2013 (RR: 0.97, 95% CI: 0.93–1.01) before declining to 4.8 in 2014 (RR: 0.88, 95% CI: 0.84–0.91). This trend was observed in most, but not all federal states and strata of sex and age groups. Only 204 of 20,679 (1%) episodes of infection were notified as belonging to an outbreak. Our analysis corroborates previous findings that the incidence of invasive MRSA infections in Germany may be declining.
We estimated the proportion of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while living in France. Life-event and clinical information was collected in 2012 and 2013 from a random sample of HIV-infected outpatients born in sub-Saharan Africa and living in the Paris region. We assumed HIV infection in France if at least one of the following was fulfilled: (i) HIV diagnosis at least 11 years after arrival in France, (ii) at least one negative HIV test in France, (iii) sexual debut after arrival in France. Otherwise, time of HIV infection was based on statistical modelling of first CD4+ T-cell count; infection in France was assumed if more than 50% (median scenario) or more than 95% (conservative scenario) of modelled infection times occurred after migration. We estimated that 49% of 898 HIV-infected adults born in sub-Saharan Africa (95% confidence interval (CI): 45–53) in the median and 35% (95% CI: 31–39) in the conservative scenario acquired HIV while living in France. This proportion was higher in men than women (44% (95% CI: 37–51) vs 30% (95% CI: 25–35); conservative scenario) and increased with length of stay in France. These high proportions highlight the need for improved HIV policies targeting migrants.
Eurosurveillance Edition: 19 November 2015
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