Sunday 05 December 2021

Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in Brabant town, one person has died

The Genesis fountain in the heart of the town. Photo: Gouwenaar via Wikimedia Commons

One person has died and several others have been hospitalised after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Noord-Brabant town of Schijndel.

In total, at least 10 people, all aged 60 to 90, have been affected by the outbreak, local officials say.

The source of the outbreak has not yet been established. Research at two nursing homes, where some of those who have been affected live, has drawn a blank and officials suggest it may be in the open air. The fountains in the town centre have therefore been switched off.

According to the regional health board, the 10 infections so far are just the tip of the iceberg and new cases are being reported on a daily basis.

Last year, 461 cases of Legionnaire’s disease were reported to the Dutch public health institute RIVM. The disease manifests itself as pneumonia and can be deadly for the elderly and people in poor health.

The source of the contamination in most registered cases in the Netherlands is unclear, although likely culprits are jacuzzis and industrial cooling towers.

In 1999, 32 people died and more than 200 were infected with Legionnaires’ disease after visiting a flower show in Bovenkarspel. The source was traced back to a whirlpool bath.

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