Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 15:15:33 -0500
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: AP Online, Story Filed: Saturday, December 30, 2000 11:23 AM EST
Legionnaire's Disease Cited in Paris
A Paris hospital has banned showers and ordered water pipes disinfected after 4 people were diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease, health officials said Saturday.
All 4 people caught the respiratory disease in the past month, said Dr. Guy Meyer, president of the infectious disease unit at Paris' newly opened Georges Pompidou European Hospital.
One of the patients diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease has died, but his death was related to a heart condition, hospital director Louis Omnes said.
The 3 other patients were treated with antibiotics and were doing well, Meyer said.
The ultramodern 750-bed hospital in southwestern Paris was officially inaugurated by French President Jacques Chirac last week. But it has had a series of setbacks since opening its doors in July, including frequent computer and technical breakdowns.
Officials suspect that Legionella -- a waterborne bacterium -- developed in unused sections of water pipes in the hospital, which is only partially occupied by about 250 patients. "The stagnation of hot water could explain the epidemic," Omnes said.
Legionella can be inhaled when water is released into the air, through air conditioners, steam or other means. Disinfecting with chlorine or heat usually kills the bacterium, which causes a form of pneumonia.
The disease does not spread person to person. Symptoms include high fever, cough and shortness of breath.
[Reports of this outbreak were also received from John Edgar Bradfield and
Dr. Patricia Doyle - Mod.ES]