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26 September 2017

Legionnaires' disease, Dubai - ECDC risk assessment

Further to Current note 51/2503 (at http://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/ewr/redirect.aspx?id=73639), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued an updated risk assessment on 21 September.

ECDC observed a significant increase in the number of cases of travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease (TALD) in EU travellers returning from Dubai during the period October 2016 to May 2017. This increase, moreover, could not be accounted for by the increase in travel patterns from the EU. The return to the baseline level of TALD in the most recent two months suggests that the outbreak may have ended.

However, in previous years October and November have been the months associated with the highest numbers of TALD notifications - particularly in 2016 - and cases are therefore still expected to occur in the coming months.

ECDC’s ongoing monitoring of the situation will be based on the continued timely reporting of TALD cases by the EU member states through the ELDSNet surveillance scheme. There are also several options that EU members states may consider to assess and mitigate the risks in relation to TALD cases having travelled to areas that have experienced increased numbers of cases in the past:

  • In addition to the standard reporting procedures, inform ELDSNet of TALD cases having stayed in private accommodation.
  • Inform travellers − particularly those over 50 years, smokers and immunocompromised persons − to seek medical advice if they experience severe respiratory infection symptoms up to two weeks after travelling in order to ensure early and appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
  • Remind clinicians to consider Legionnaires’ disease in patients presenting with community-acquired atypical pneumonia and a history of travel in the two weeks prior to disease onset.

ECDC will be monitoring the epidemiological situation closely.

The full assessment can be accessed at https://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications-data/rapid-risk-assessment-increase-legionnaires-disease-eu-travellers-returning-dubai.

Vol: 51 No: 38 Year: 2017 Page:

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