Outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in Pamplona, Spain


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been alerted by EWGLINET (The European Working Group for Legionella Infection) of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the Spanish City of Pamplona, notified by the Health Authorities in Navarre. Pamplona is located in Northern Spain in the western part of the Pyrenees.

As of June 6th 2006, 122 cases of Legionnaires' disease have been confirmed and over half of these cases have been hospitalised. No deaths have been reported to date and no cases have been reported in tourists or other non-Spanish citizens. Those affected range between 21 and 97 years.  Health Authorities in Navarre were first alerted to the outbreak on June 1st. 

Investigation of the outbreak revealed that most early cases were associated with a particular area of the city and legionella bacteria was found in four cooling towers in this area. These cooling towers were shut down on June 5th thereby removing the risk to the public of exposure to legionella bacteria.

Legionnaires' Disease
Legionnaires' Disease is a bacterial disease, which can cause pneumonia. The early symptoms include a 'flu-like' illness with muscle aches, tiredness, headaches, dry cough and fever. Sometimes diarrhoea occurs and confusion may develop. Deaths occur in 10-15% of otherwise healthy individuals and may be higher in some groups of patients. The incubation period ranges from 2 to 10 days but is usually 5 to 6 days. In rare cases some people may develop symptoms as late as three weeks after exposure.

It is advisable that any persons who visited Pamplona from mid May 2006 onwards who develop symptoms similar to those outlined above would seek medical advice and visit their GP. In particular they should inform him/her that they have visited Pamplona and that an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has occurred there.

More information on Legionellosis is available at http://www.hpsc.ie/hpsc/A-Z/Respiratory/Legionellosis/