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Large outbreak of Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac fever at a military base


We investigated a mixed outbreak of Legionnaires' disease (LD) and Pontiac fever (PF) at a military base to identify the outbreak's environmental source as well as known legionellosis risk factors. Base workers with possible legionellosis were interviewed and, if consenting, underwent testing for legionellosis. A retrospective cohort study collected information on occupants of the buildings closest to the outbreak source. We identified 29 confirmed and probable LD and 38 PF cases. All cases were exposed to airborne pathogens from a cooling tower. Occupants of the building closest to the cooling tower were 6·9 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2·2-22·0] and 5·5 (95% CI 2·1-14·5) times more likely to develop LD and PF, respectively, than occupants of the next closest building. Thorough preventive measures and aggressive responses to outbreaks, including searching for PF cases in mixed legionellosis outbreaks, are essential for legionellosis control.

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